PURPOSE: A large number of targeted treatment options for stage IV nonsquamous non-small-cell lung cancer with specific genetic aberrations in tumor DNA is available. It is therefore important to optimize diagnostic testing strategies, such that patients receive adequate personalized treatment that improves survival and quality of life. The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy (including diagnostic costs, turnaround time (TAT), unsuccessful tests, percentages of correct findings, therapeutic costs, and therapeutic effectiveness) of parallel next generation sequencing (NGS)-based versus sequential single-gene-based testing strategies routinely used in patients with metastasized non-small-cell lung cancer in the Netherlands.
METHODS: A diagnostic microsimulation model was developed to simulate 100,000 patients with prevalence of genetic aberrations, extracted from real-world data from the Dutch Pathology Registry. These simulated patients were modeled to undergo different testing strategies composed of multiple tests with different test characteristics including single-gene and panel tests, test accuracy, the probability of an unsuccessful test, and TAT. Diagnostic outcomes were linked to a previously developed treatment model, to predict average long-term survival, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), costs, and cost-effectiveness of parallel versus sequential testing.
RESULTS: NGS-based parallel testing for all actionable genetic aberrations is on average €266 cheaper than single-gene-based sequential testing, and detects additional relevant targetable genetic aberrations in 20.5% of the cases, given a TAT of maximally 2 weeks. Therapeutic costs increased by €8,358, and 0.12 QALYs were gained, leading to an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of €69,614/QALY for parallel versus sequential testing.
CONCLUSION: NGS-based parallel testing is diagnostically superior over single-gene-based sequential testing, as it is cheaper and more effective than sequential testing. Parallel testing remains cost-effective with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of 69,614 €/QALY upon inclusion of therapeutic costs and long-term outcomes.