J Surg Res 2019 Sep 17;241:15-23. Epub 2019 Apr 17.
Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey. Electronic address:
Background: Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) has shown promise in identifying subclinical nodal metastasis in patients with high-risk cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. However, low metastasis rates may indicate that performing such a procedure in all patients may be unnecessary and costly.
Materials And Methods: A decision model was developed to analyze costs and survival in patients with head and neck cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma based on their tumor and nodal metastasis staging and whether or not they received an SLNB. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were calculated based on the change in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and costs (US$) between the different options, with a threshold of $100,000 to determine the most cost-effective strategy. One-way, two-way, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to validate the results.
Results: Not performing an SLNB results in 12.26 QALYs and a cost of $3712.98. Performing an SLNB resulted in a 0.59 decrease in QALYs and an increase in cost of $1379.58 for an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of -2338.27. This trend remained the same across all tumor stages and remained consistent within most sensitivity analyses.
Conclusions: In patients with head and neck cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, the most cost-effective strategy is to not perform SLNBs, regardless of the patient's stage. Low rates of nodal metastasis in addition to low disease-specific death rates were the significant factors in this outcome. Increasing the sensitivity of SLNB would not impact this recommendation unless the rate of nodal metastasis was significantly higher.