Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the costs and effectiveness associated with no screening, Helicobacter pylori serology screening, and the 13C-urea breath test (UBT) for gastric cancer in the Chinese population.
Methods: A Markov model simulation was carried out in Singaporean Chinese at 40 years of age (n = 478,500) from the perspective of public healthcare providers. The main outcome measures were costs, number of gastric cancer cases prevented, life-years saved, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained from the screening age to death, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs), which were compared among the three strategies. The uncertainty surrounding ICERs was addressed by scenario analyses and probabilistic sensitivity analysis using Monte Carlo simulation.
Results: The ICER of serology screening versus no screening was $25,881 per QALY gained (95 percent confidence interval (95 percent CI), $5,700 to $120,000). The ICER of UBT versus no screening was $53,602 per QALY gained (95 percent CI, $16,000 to $230,000). ICER of UBT versus serology screening was $470,000 per QALY gained, for which almost all random samples of the ICERs distributed above $50,000 per QALY.
Conclusions: It cannot be confidently concluded that either H pylori screening was a cost-effective strategy compared with no screening in all Chinese at the age of 40 years. Nevertheless, serology screening has demonstrated much more potential to be a cost-effective strategy, especially in the population with higher gastric cancer prevalence.