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Gynecol Oncol. 2009 Apr;113(1):68-74. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2008.12.008. Epub 2009 Jan 26.

Is centralization of ovarian cancer care warranted? A cost-effectiveness analysis.

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  • 1Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Internal mailbox Str 6.131, PO Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands.



To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of tertiary referral care for ovarian cancer patients in the Netherlands.


We collected clinical and registry data on 1077 newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients treated from 1996-2003 in a random sample of Dutch hospitals. Decision modelling was used to compare the cost-effectiveness of treatment in general hospitals, semi-specialized hospitals, and tertiary care centers. The actual direct medical costs of ovarian cancer treatment were evaluated. Long-term outcomes in terms of costs, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and incremental costs per QALY gained were estimated. To assess uncertainty, multivariable sensitivity analyses and scenario analyses were performed.


Treatment of ovarian cancer patients in semi-specialized hospitals costs on average euro882 more than in general hospitals (95% confidence interval -720 to 2462) and yields 0.12 additional QALYs (95% CI 0.02 to 0.22), resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of euro7135. Patients treated in tertiary care centers incurred again higher costs (euro10,591, 95% CI 8757 to 12,480) and also higher QALYs (0.10, 95% CI 0 to 0.21), resulting in an ICER of euro102,642 compared to semi-specialized hospitals. If the optimal debulking rate in tertiary care centers would increase to 70%, costs could drop below euro30,000 per QALY.


Current treatment of ovarian cancer patients in semi-specialized hospital settings is a cost-effective strategy, while treatment in tertiary care centers becomes only cost-effective when better surgical results would be achieved.

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