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Ladabaum, U., C.L. Chopra, G. Huang, J.M. Scheiman, Michael Chernew, and A. Mark Fendrick. 2001. "Aspirin as an Adjunct to Screening for Prevention of Sporadic Colorectal Cancer: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis." Annals of Internal Medicine, 135(9): 769-781.
Background: Aspirin may decrease colorectal cancer incidence, but its role as an adjunct to or substitute for screening has not been evaluated.
Objective: To examine the potential cost-effectiveness of aspirin chemoprophylaxis in relation to screening.
Design: Markov model.
Data Sources: Literature on colorectal cancer epidemiology, screening, costs, and aspirin chemoprevention (1980–1999).
Target Population: General U.S. population.
Time Horizon: 50 to 80 years of age.
Perspective: Third-party payer.
Intervention: Aspirin therapy in patients screened with sigmoidoscopy every 5 years and fecal occult blood testing every year (FS/FOBT) or colonoscopy every 10 years (COLO).
Outcome Measures: Discounted cost per life-year gained.
Results of Base-Case Analysis: When a 30% reduction in colorectal cancer risk was assumed, aspirin increased costs and decreased life-years because of related complications as an adjunct to FS/FOBT and cost $149 161 per life-year gained as an adjunct to COLO. In patients already taking aspirin, screening with FS/FOBT or COLO cost less than $31 000 per life-year gained.
Results of Sensitivity Analysis: Cost-effectiveness estimates depended highly on the magnitude of colorectal cancer risk reduction with aspirin, aspirin-related complication rates, and the screening adherence rate in the population. However, when the model’s inputs were varied over wide ranges, aspirin chemoprophylaxis remained generally non–cost-effective for patients who adhere to screening.
Conclusions: In patients undergoing colorectal cancer screening, aspirin use should not be based on potential chemoprevention. Aspirin chemoprophylaxis alone cannot be considered a substitute for colorectal cancer screening. Public policy should focus on improving screening adherence, even in patients who are already taking aspirin.