A decision analysis evaluating screening for kidney cancer using focused renal ultrasound

Sabrina H. Rossi, Tobias Klatte, Juliet A. Usher-Smith, Kate Fife, Sarah J. Welsh, Saeed Dabestani, Axel Bex, David Nicol, Paul Nathan, Grant D. Stewart, Edward C. F. Wilson

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Background: Screening for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has been identified as a key research priority; however, no randomised control trials have been performed. Value of information analysis can determine whether further research on this topic is of value. Objective: To determine (1) whether current evidence suggests that screening is potentially cost-effective and, if so, (2) in which age/sex groups, (3) identify evidence gaps, and (4) estimate the value of further research to close those gaps. Design, setting, and participants: A decision model was developed evaluating screening in asymptomatic individuals in the UK. A National Health Service perspective was adopted. Intervention: A single focused renal ultrasound scan compared with standard of care (no screening). Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Expected lifetime costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER), discounted at 3.5% per annum. Results and limitations: Given a prevalence of RCC of 0.34% (0.18–0.54%), screening 60-yr-old men resulted in an ICER of £18 092/QALY (€22 843/QALY). Given a prevalence of RCC of 0.16% (0.08–0.25%), screening 60-yr-old women resulted in an ICER of £37 327/QALY (€47 129/QALY). In the one-way sensitivity analysis, the ICER was <£30 000/QALY as long as the prevalence of RCC was ≥0.25% for men and ≥0.2% for women at age 60 yr. Given the willingness to pay a threshold of £30 000/QALY (€37 878/QALY), the population-expected values of perfect information were £194 million (€244 million) and £97 million (€123 million) for 60-yr-old men and women, respectively. The expected value of perfect parameter information suggests that the prevalence of RCC and stage shift associated with screening are key research priorities. Conclusions: Current evidence suggests that one-off screening of 60-yr-old men is potentially cost-effective and that further research into this topic would be of value to society. Patient summary: Economic modelling suggests that screening 60-yr-old men for kidney cancer using ultrasound may be a good use of resources and that further research on this topic should be performed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-419
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Urology Focus
Issue number2
Early online date14 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Kidney cancer
  • Renal cell cancer
  • Screening
  • Ultrasound

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