Cost Effectiveness of Screening Individuals With Cystic Fibrosis for Colorectal Cancer

Published:November 01, 2017DOI:

      Background & Aims

      Individuals with cystic fibrosis are at increased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) compared with the general population, and risk is higher among those who received an organ transplant. We performed a cost-effectiveness analysis to determine optimal CRC screening strategies for patients with cystic fibrosis.


      We adjusted the existing Microsimulation Screening Analysis-Colon model to reflect increased CRC risk and lower life expectancy in patients with cystic fibrosis. Modeling was performed separately for individuals who never received an organ transplant and patients who had received an organ transplant. We modeled 76 colonoscopy screening strategies that varied the age range and screening interval. The optimal screening strategy was determined based on a willingness to pay threshold of $100,000 per life-year gained. Sensitivity and supplementary analyses were performed, including fecal immunochemical test (FIT) as an alternative test, earlier ages of transplantation, and increased rates of colonoscopy complications, to assess if optimal screening strategies would change.


      Colonoscopy every 5 years, starting at an age of 40 years, was the optimal colonoscopy strategy for patients with cystic fibrosis who never received an organ transplant; this strategy prevented 79% of deaths from CRC. Among patients with cystic fibrosis who had received an organ transplant, optimal colonoscopy screening should start at an age of 30 or 35 years, depending on the patient’s age at time of transplantation. Annual FIT screening was predicted to be cost-effective for patients with cystic fibrosis. However, the level of accuracy of the FIT in this population is not clear.


      Using a Microsimulation Screening Analysis-Colon model, we found screening of patients with cystic fibrosis for CRC to be cost effective. Because of the higher risk of CRC in these patients, screening should start at an earlier age with a shorter screening interval. The findings of this study (especially those on FIT screening) may be limited by restricted evidence available for patients with cystic fibrosis.


      Abbreviations used in this paper:

      CRC (colorectal cancer), FIT (fecal immunochemical test), ICER (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio), LYG (life-years gained), MISCAN-Colon (Microsimulation Screening Analysis-Colon)
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