Cost-effectiveness of the 70-gene signature versus St. Gallen guidelines and Adjuvant Online for early breast cancer

Valesca P. Retèl, Manuela A. Joore, Michael Knauer, Sabine C. Linn, Michael Hauptmann, Wim H. van Harten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The 70-gene signature (MammaPrint®) is a prognostic test used to guide adjuvant treatment decisions in patients with node-negative breast cancer. In order to decide upon its use, a systematic comparative analysis of the effects of the 70-gene signature, the Sankt Gallen guidelines and the Adjuvant Online Software for these patients on survival, quality of life and costs is warranted.

Methods: A Markov decision model was used to simulate the 20-year costs and outcomes (survival and quality-of-life adjusted survival (QALYs)) in a hypothetical cohort of node-negative, estrogen receptor positive breast cancer patients. Sensitivity and specificity of the three prognostic tools were based on 5 and 10 years breast cancer specific survival and distant metastasis as first event, derived from a pooled analysis consisting of 305 tumour samples from 3 previously reported validation studies concerning the 70-gene signature.

Results: Small differences in survival, but substantial differences in quality-adjusted survival between the prognostic tools were observed. Quality-adjusted survival was highest when using the 70-gene signature. Based on costs per QALY, the 70-gene has the highest probability of being cost-effective for a willingness to pay for a QALY higher than €4600.
Sankt Gallen showed the highest survival rates compared to the 70-gene signature, but leads to a substantial larger amount of adjuvant chemotherapy and hence higher costs, thus demanding a willingness to pay of €29.326 to save a life year.

Conclusions: When deciding upon the cost-effectiveness of the prognostic tests, the 70-gene signature improves quality-adjusted survival and has the highest probability of being cost-effective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1382-1391
JournalEuropean journal of cancer
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Gene expression profiling
  • Cost-Effectiveness
  • METIS-271438
  • IR-71410
  • 70-Gene MammaPrint® signature
  • Breast cancer


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