Cost-effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening programmes using sigmoidoscopy and immunochemical faecal occult blood test

Carlo Senore, Cesare Hassan, Daniele Regge, Eva Pagano, Gabriella Iussich, Loredana Correale, Nereo Segnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: Several European countries are implementing organized colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programmes using faecal immunochemical test (FIT) and/or flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS), but the cost-effectiveness of these programmes is not yet available. We aimed to assess cost-effectiveness, based on data from the established Piedmont screening programme. Methods: Using the Piedmont programme data, a Markov model was constructed comparing three strategies in a simulated cohort of 100,000 subjects: single FS, biennial FIT, or sequential strategy (FS + FIT offered to FS non-responders). Estimates for CRC incidence and mortality prevention were derived from studies of organized screening. Cost analysis for FS and FIT was based on data from organized programmes. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) between the different strategies were calculated. Sensitivity and probabilistic analyses were performed. Results: Direct costs for FS, and for FIT at first and subsequent rounds, were estimated as €160, €33, and €21, respectively. All the simulated strategies were effective (10–17% CRC incidence reduction) and cost-effective vs. no screening (ICER <€1000 per life-year saved). FS and FS + FIT were the only cost-saving strategies, with FS least expensive (€15 saving per person invited). FS + FIT and FS were the only non-dominated strategies. FS + FIT were more effective and cost-effective than FS (ICER €1217 per life-year saved). The residual marginal uncertainty was mainly related to parameters inherent to FIT effectiveness and adherence. Conclusions: Organized CRC screening programmes are highly cost-effective, irrespective of the test selected. A sequential approach with FS and FIT appears the most cost-effective option. A single FS is the least expensive, but convenient, approach.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medical Screening
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Colorectal cancer
  • cost-effectiveness
  • FIT
  • screening
  • sigmoidoscopy
  • simulation model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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