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Psychooncology. 2016 Dec;25(12):1380-1392. doi: 10.1002/pon.4075. Epub 2016 Jan 26.

Economic evaluations of psychosocial interventions in cancer: a systematic review.

Author information

Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research, Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Discipline of Paediatrics, School of Women's and Children's Health, UNSW Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Centre for Cancer Research, Westmead Millennium Institute for Medical Research and Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.



Although the effectiveness of many psychosocial interventions for people with cancer has been established, one barrier to implementation in routine clinical care is a lack of data on cost-effectiveness. We conducted a systematic review to assess the cost-effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for improving psychological adjustment among people with cancer.


A systematic review of the literature, study appraisal and narrative synthesis.


Eight studies involving 1668 patients were identified. Four of these reported outcomes in a cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) framework. Six studies reported psychosocial interventions to be cost-effective for improving health-related quality of life, mood, pain, distress or fear of cancer progression, compared with usual care. Of the six psychosocial interventions identified as cost-effective, three were cognitive-behavioural therapy-based interventions, one was a nurse-delivered telephone follow-up plus educational group programme, one was a group-based exercise and psychosocial intervention and one was a series of 10 face-to-face or telephone-based individual support sessions delivered by a nurse. The quality of studies assessed according to the Consensus Health Economic Criteria-list criteria was good overall; however, some studies were limited by their choice of outcome measure and omission of important categories of costs.


Several psychosocial interventions, particularly those based on cognitive-behavioural therapy, have been demonstrated to represent good value for money in cancer care. Future research should include a clear definition of the economic question, inclusion of all relevant costs, and consideration of utility-based quality of life measures for QALY estimation. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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