Background: Accurate preoperative localization of nonpalpable breast cancer is essential to achieve complete resection. Radioguided occult lesion localization (ROLL) has been introduced as an alternative for wire-guided localization (WGL). Although efficacy of ROLL has been established in a randomized controlled trial, cost-effectiveness of ROLL compared with WGL is not yet known. The objective of this study was to determine whether ROLL has acceptable cost-effectiveness compared with WGL.
Methods: An economic evaluation was performed along with a randomized controlled trial (ClinicalTrials.gov, No. NCT00539474). Women (>18 years) with histologically proven nonpalpable breast cancer and eligible for breast conserving treatment with sentinel node procedure were randomized to ROLL (n = 162) or WGL (n = 152). Empirical data on direct medical costs were collected, and changes in quality of life were measured over a 6-month period. Bootstrapping was used to assess uncertainty in cost-effectiveness estimates, and sensitivity of the results to the missing data approach was investigated.
Results: In total, 314 patients with 316 invasive breast cancers were enrolled. On average ROLL required the same time as WGL for the surgical procedure (119 vs 118 min), resulted in a 7 % higher reinterventions risk, and 13 % more complications. Quality of life effects were similar (difference 0.00 QALYs 95 % CI (-0.04-0.05). Total costs were also similar for ROLL and WGL (+€26 per patient 95 % CI €-250-311).
Conclusion: ROLL is comparable to WGL with respect to both costs and quality of life effects as measured with the EQ5D and will therefore not lead to more cost-effective medical care.