Evaluation of a Stratified National Breast Screening Programme in the United Kingdom: An early model-based cost-effectiveness analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Ewan Gray
  • Anna Donten
  • N Karssemeijer
  • Carla H van Gils


To identify the incremental costs and consequences of stratified national breast screening programs (stratified NBSPs) and drivers of relative cost-effectiveness.

A decision-analytic model (discrete event simulation) was conceptualized to represent four stratified NBSPs (risk 1, risk 2, masking [supplemental screening for women with higher breast density], and masking and risk 1) compared with the current UK NBSP and no screening. The model assumed a lifetime horizon, the health service perspective to identify costs (£, 2015), and measured consequences in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). Multiple data sources were used: systematic reviews of effectiveness and utility, published studies reporting costs, and cohort studies embedded in existing NBSPs. Model parameter uncertainty was assessed using probabilistic sensitivity analysis and one-way sensitivity analysis.

The base-case analysis, supported by probabilistic sensitivity analysis, suggested that the risk stratified NBSPs (risk 1 and risk-2) were relatively cost-effective when compared with the current UK NBSP, with incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of £16,689 per QALY and £23,924 per QALY, respectively. Stratified NBSP including masking approaches (supplemental screening for women with higher breast density) was not a cost-effective alternative, with incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of £212,947 per QALY (masking) and £75,254 per QALY (risk 1 and masking). When compared with no screening, all stratified NBSPs could be considered cost-effective. Key drivers of cost-effectiveness were discount rate, natural history model parameters, mammographic sensitivity, and biopsy rates for recalled cases. A key assumption was that the risk model used in the stratification process was perfectly calibrated to the population.

This early model-based cost-effectiveness analysis provides indicative evidence for decision makers to understand the key drivers of costs and QALYs for exemplar stratified NBSP.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalValue in Health
Early online date1 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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