(HealthDay News) — In a simulated screening protocol, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) breast cancer screening is cost-effective for women with extremely dense breasts at a four-year interval, according to a study published online Sept. 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
H. Amarens Geuzinge, from Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues used the MISCAN-breast microsimulation model to estimate long-term effects and costs associated with several screening protocols containing mammography and/or MRI.
The researchers found that calibration resulted in a conservative fit of the model regarding MRI detection. Other strategies dominated over biennial mammography and biennial mammography plus MRI. Cost-effectiveness was achieved with MRI alone every four years with €15,620 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY), whereas screening with MRI alone every three years resulted in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of €37,181 per QALY. Strategies other than those with mammography and/or a two-year interval resulted in more additional QALYs per additional euro.
“The results of this study show that the additional costs associated with MRI do indeed pay off,” Christiane Kuhl, M.D., Ph.D., coauthor of an accompanying editorial, said in a statement. “Breast MRI is much more effective in preventing death from breast cancer in women with dense breasts, and its additional costs are more than compensated for by its improved effectiveness.”