Cost-effectiveness analysis of genetic diagnostic strategies for Lynch syndrome in Italy

Roberta Pastorino, Michele Basile, Alessia Tognetto, Marco Di Marco, Adriano Grossi, Emanuela Lucci-Cordisco, Franco Scaldaferri, Andrea de Censi, Antonio Federici, Paolo Villari, Maurizio Genuardi, Walter Ricciardi, Stefania Boccia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lynch syndrome (LS) is an autosomal dominant condition caused by pathogenic variants in mismatch repair (MMR) genes that predispose individuals to different malignancies, such as colorectal cancer (CRC) and endometrial cancer. Current guidelines recommended testing for LS in individuals with newly diagnosed CRC to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality in relatives. Economic evaluations in support of such approach, however, are not available in Italy. We developed a decision-analytic model to analyze the cost-effectiveness of LS screening from the perspective of the Italian National Health System. Three testing strategies: the sequencing of all MMR genes without prior tumor analysis (Strategy 1), a sequential IHC and MS-MLPA analysis (Strategy 2), and an age-targeted strategy with a revised Bethesda criteria assessment before IHC and methylation-specific MLPA for patients ≥ than 70 years old (Strategy 3) were analyzed and compared to the “no testing” strategy. Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) in relatives after colonoscopy, aspirin prophylaxis and an intensive gynecological surveillance were estimated through a Markov model. Assuming a CRC incidence rate of 0.09% and a share of patients affected by LS equal to 2.81%, the number of detected pathogenic variants among CRC cases ranges, in a given year, between 910 and 1167 depending on the testing strategy employed. The testing strategies investigated, provided one-time to the entire eligible population (CRC patients), were associated with an overall cost ranging between €1,753,059.93-€10,388,000.00. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of the Markov model ranged from €941.24 /QALY to €1,681.93 /QALY, thus supporting that “universal testing” versus “no testing” is cost-effective, but not necessarily in comparison with age-targeted strategies. This is the first economic evaluation on different testing strategies for LS in Italy. The results might support the introduction of cost-effective recommendations for LS screening in Italy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0235038
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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