Cost-effectiveness Outcomes of the National Gastric Cancer Screening Program in South Korea

  • Cho, Eun (College of Pharmacy, Sookmyung Women's University) ;
  • Kang, Moon Hae (Graduate School of Yonsei University) ;
  • Choi, Kui Son (National Cancer Control Research Institute, National Cancer Center) ;
  • Suh, MiNa (National Cancer Control Research Institute, National Cancer Center) ;
  • Jun, Jae Kwan (National Cancer Control Research Institute, National Cancer Center) ;
  • Park, Eun-Cheol (Institute of Health Services Research, Yonsei University)
  • Published : 2013.04.30


Background: Although screening is necessary where gastric cancer is particularly common in Asia, the performance outcomes of mass screening programs have remained unclear. This study was conducted to evaluate cost-effectiveness outcomes of the national cancer screening program (NCSP) for gastric cancer in South Korea. Materials and Methods: People aged 40 years or over during 2002-2003 (baseline) were the target population. Screening recipients and patients diagnosed with gastric cancers were identified using the NCSP and Korea Central Cancer Registry databases. Clinical outcomes were measured in terms of mortality and life-years saved (LYS) of gastric cancer patients during 7 years based on merged data from the Korean National Health Insurance Corporation and National Statistical Office. We considered direct, indirect, and productivity-loss costs associated with screening attendance. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) estimates were produced according to screening method, sex, and age group compared to non-screening. Results: The age-adjusted ICER for survival was 260,201,000-371,011,000 Korean Won (KW; 1USD=1,088 KW) for the upper-gastrointestinal (UGI) tract over non-screening. Endoscopy ICERs were lower (119,099,000-178,700,000 KW/survival) than UGI. To increase 1 life-year, additional costs of approximately 14,466,000-15,014,000 KW and 8,817,000-9,755,000 KW were required for UGI and endoscopy, respectively. Endoscopy was the most cost-effective strategy for males and females. With regard to sensitivity analyses varying based on the upper age limit, endoscopy NCSP was dominant for both males and females. For males, an upper limit of age 75 or 80 years could be considered. ICER estimates for LYS indicate that the gastric cancer screening program in Korea is cost-effective. Conclusion: Endoscopy should be recommended as a first-line method in Korea because it is beneficial among the Korean population.


Supported by : Ministry of Health and Welfare


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