Health Economic Evidence for Liquid- and Tissue-based Molecular Tests that Inform Decisions on Prostate Biopsies and Treatment of Localised Prostate Cancer: A Systematic Review

Koen Degeling, Amanda Pereira-Salgado, Niall M. Corcoran, Paul C. Boutros, Peter Kuhn, Maarten J. IJzerman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Context: Several liquid- and tissue-based biomarker tests (LTBTs) are available to inform the need for prostate biopsies and treatment of localised prostate cancer (PCa) through risk stratification, but translation into routine practice requires evidence of their clinical utility and economic impact.

Objective: To review and summarise the health economic evidence on the ability of LTBTs to inform decisions on prostate biopsies and treatment of localised PCa through risk stratification.

Evidence acquisition: A systematic search was performed in the EMBASE, MEDLINE, Health Technology Assessment, and National Health Service Health Economic Evaluation databases. Eligible publications were those presenting health economic evaluations of an LTBT to select individuals for biopsy or risk-stratify PCa patients for treatment. Data on the study objectives, context, methodology, clinical utility, and outcomes were extracted and summarised.

Evidence synthesis: Of the 22 studies included, 14 were focused on test-informed biopsies and eight on treatment selection. Most studies performed cost-effectiveness analyses (n = 7), followed by costing (n = 4) or budget impact analyses (n = 3). Most (18 of 22) studies concluded that biomarker tests could decrease health care costs or would be cost-effective. However, downstream consequences and long-term outcomes were typically not included in studies that evaluated LTBT to inform biopsies. Long-term effectiveness was modelled by linking evidence from different sources instead of using data from prospective studies.

Conclusions: Although studies concluded that LTBTs would probably be cost-saving or -effective, the strength of this evidence is disputable because of concerns around the validity and transparency of the assumptions made. This warrants prospective interventional trials to inform health economic analyses to ensure collection of direct evidence of clinical outcomes based on LTBT use. Patient summary: We reviewed studies that evaluated whether blood, urine, and tissue tests can reduce the health and economic burden of prostate cancer. Results indicate that these tests could be cost-effective, but clinical studies of long-term outcomes are needed to confirm the findings. Health economic evaluations of tests to inform the management of localised prostate cancer have presented positive findings, although concerns regarding the evidence used and model assumptions at best indicate the potential of these tests and do not allow for strong conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-87
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Urology Open Science
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Biomarker
  • Blood test
  • Budget impact
  • Cost
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Health economics
  • Liquid biopsy
  • Localised prostate cancer
  • Tissue-based test
  • Urine test


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