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Am J Med. 2000 Jun 1;108(8):634-41.

Cost-effectiveness of screening for anal squamous intraepithelial lesions and anal cancer in human immunodeficiency virus-negative homosexual and bisexual men.

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  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Center for Risk Analysis, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



Homosexual and bisexual men are at an increased risk for human papillomavirus-induced squamous intraepithelial lesions and cancer of the anus. Our objective was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of screening for anal squamous intraepithelial lesions in these high-risk patients.


A Markov model was developed to evaluate alternative screening strategies using anal cytology in a hypothetical cohort of homosexual and bisexual men. Data were obtained from prospective cohort studies, national databases, Medicare reimbursement rates, and the published literature. Model outcomes included life expectancy, quality-adjusted life expectancy, total lifetime costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios.


The undiscounted life expectancy gain associated with anal cytology screening every 3 years was 5.5 months. Compared with no screening, screening every 3 years increased the discounted quality-adjusted life expectancy by 1.8 months and cost $7,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Screening every 2 years cost $15,100 per QALY gained compared with screening every 3 years. Annual screening provided incremental benefits of less than 0.5 quality-adjusted months and had an incremental cost of $34,800 per QALY gained. Screening every 6 months provided little additional benefit (i.e, 5 days) over that of annual screening and had an incremental cost of $143,500 per QALY gained.


In homosexual and bisexual men, screening every 2 or 3 years for anal squamous intraepithelial lesions with anal cytology would provide life-expectancy benefits comparable with other accepted preventive health measures, and would be cost-effective.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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