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Economic evaluations of screening strategies for the early detection of colorectal cancer in the average-risk population: A systematic literature review.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening has proven effective in reducing CRC mortality. This study aimed to systematically review, and evaluate the reporting quality, of the economic evidence regarding CRC screening in average-risk individuals. Databases searched included Medline, EMBASE, National Health Service Economic Evaluation, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, Cost-Effectiveness Analysis registry, EconLit, and Health Technology Assessment database. Eligible studies were cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analyses comparing CRC screening strategies in average-risk individuals, published in English or Spanish, between January 2012 and November 2018. Reporting quality was assessed using the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) checklist. Of 1,993 publications initially retrieved, 477 were excluded by duplicate review, 1,449 by title/abstract review, and 34 by full-text review. Finally, 33 publications were included in the qualitative synthesis. Most studies were conducted in Europe (36,4%), followed by United States (24,2%) and Asia (24,2%). The main screening modalities considered were fecal immunochemical tests (70%), colonoscopy (67%), guaiac fecal occult blood test (42%) and flexible sigmoidoscopy (30%). In most studies, CRC screening was deemed cost-effective compared to no screening. Sensitivity analyses indicated that cost of CRC screening tests, adherence to screening, screening test sensitivity, and cost of CRC treatment had the greatest impact on cost-effectiveness results across studies. The majority of studies (73%) adequately reported at least 50% of the items included in the CHEERS checklist. Least well reported items included setting, study perspective, discount rate, model choice, and methods to identify effectiveness data or to estimate resource use and costs. CRC screening is an efficient alternative to no screening. Nevertheless, it is not possible to conclude which strategy should be preferred for population-based screening programs. Although we observed an overall good adherence to CHEERS recommendations, there is still room for improvement in economic evaluations reporting in this field.