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The successful use of a targeted therapy is intrinsically linked to the ability of a companion diagnostic to correctly identify patients most likely to benefit from treatment. The aim of this study was to review the characteristics of companion diagnostics that are of importance for inclusion in an economic evaluation. Approaches for including these characteristics in model-based economic evaluations are compared with the intent to describe best practice methods. Five databases and government agency websites were searched to identify model-based economic evaluations comparing a companion diagnostic and subsequent treatment strategy to another alternative treatment strategy with model parameters for the sensitivity and specificity of the companion diagnostic (primary synthesis). Economic evaluations that limited model parameters for the companion diagnostic to only its cost were also identified (secondary synthesis). Quality was assessed using the Quality of Health Economic Studies instrument. 30 studies were included in the review (primary synthesis n = 12; secondary synthesis n = 18). Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios may be lower when the only parameter for the companion diagnostic included in a model is the cost of testing. Incorporating the test's accuracy in addition to its cost may be a more appropriate methodological approach. Altering the prevalence of the genetic biomarker, specific population tested, type of test, test accuracy and timing/sequence of multiple tests can all impact overall model results. The impact of altering a test's threshold for positivity is unknown as it was not addressed in any of the included studies. Additional quality criteria as outlined in our methodological checklist should be considered due to the shortcomings of standard quality assessment tools in differentiating studies that incorporate important test-related characteristics and those that do not. There is a need to refine methods for incorporating the characteristics of companion diagnostics into model-based economic evaluations to ensure consistent and transparent reimbursement decisions are made.

Original publication





Expert Rev Mol Diagn

Publication Date





235 - 254


companion diagnostics, cost-effectiveness analysis, economic evaluation, genomic testing, oncology, precision medicine, Antineoplastic Agents, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Humans, Molecular Targeted Therapy, Neoplasms, Precision Medicine