Risk-targeted lung cancer screening: a cost-effectiveness analysis

Date: January 2, 2018
Journal: Annals of Internal Medicine
Citation: Kumar V, Cohen JT, Klaveren DV, Soeteman DI, Wong JB, Neumman PJ, Kent DM. Risk-targeted lung cancer screening: a cost-effectiveness analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine 2018;168(3):161.



Targeting low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for lung cancer screening to persons at highest risk for lung cancer mortality has been suggested to improve screening efficiency.


To quantify the value of risk-targeted selection for lung cancer screening compared with National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) eligibility criteria.


Cost-effectiveness analysis using a multistate prediction model.

Data Sources


Target Population

Current and former smokers eligible for lung cancer screening.

Time Horizon



Health care sector.


Risk-targeted versus NLST-based screening.

Outcome Measures

Incremental 7-year mortality, life expectancy, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), costs, and cost-effectiveness of screening with LDCT versus chest radiography at each decile of lung cancer mortality risk.

Results of Base-Case Analysis

Participants at greater risk for lung cancer mortality were older and had more comorbid conditions and higher screening-related costs. The incremental lung cancer mortality benefits during the first 7 years ranged from 1.2 to 9.5 lung cancer deaths prevented per 10 000 person-years for the lowest to highest risk deciles, respectively (extreme decile ratio, 7.9). The gradient of benefits across risk groups, however, was attenuated in terms of life-years (extreme decile ratio, 3.6) and QALYs (extreme decile ratio, 2.4). The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were similar across risk deciles ($75 000 per QALY in the lowest risk decile to $53 000 per QALY in the highest risk decile). Payers willing to pay $100 000 per QALY would pay for LDCT screening for all decile groups.

Results of Sensitivity Analysis

Alternative assumptions did not substantially alter our findings.


Our model did not account for all correlated differences between lung cancer mortality risk and quality of life.


Although risk targeting may improve screening efficiency in terms of early lung cancer mortality per person screened, the gains in efficiency are attenuated and modest in terms of life-years, QALYs, and cost-effectiveness.

Primary Funding Source


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