, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 83–94

Health Economic Evaluation of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer and Actinic Keratosis

  • Mitchell K. Higashi
  • David L. Veenstra
  • Paul C. Langley
Practical Application Article

DOI: 10.2165/00019053-200422020-00002

Cite this article as:
Higashi, M.K., Veenstra, D.L. & Langley, P.C. PharmacoEconomics (2004) 22: 83. doi:10.2165/00019053-200422020-00002


Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) and actinic keratosis are becoming an increasingly important healthcare problem. There are approximately 1 million cases of NMSC in the US each year, primarily basal cell carcinomas, and the incidence is increasing. Although NMSC is significant in terms of both health risk and the resource implications for treatment within healthcare systems, our understanding of the health economics of NMSC is limited.

The purpose of this article was to systematically review and assess published health economic studies of the treatment of NMSC and actinic keratosis, taking into consideration key aspects of guidelines set by drug purchasers and key reimbursement agencies, and to provide recommendations for appropriate modelling approaches and data collection for health economic studies of NMSC and actinic keratosis.

We systematically reviewed the published literature from 1965 to 2003 for health economic evaluations of treatments of NMSC and actinic keratosis using the search terms: (’skin cancer’ or ‘non melanoma skin cancer’ or ‘basal cell carcinoma’ or ‘actinic keratosis’) and (’decision model’ or ‘decision theoretic’ or ‘decision analytic’ or ‘health economic’ or ‘cost effective’). Studies using one of the following methodologies were included: cost-effectiveness, cost-benefit, cost-utility, cost-minimisation, cost-of-illness, cost-consequence, and treatment cost analysis.

We identified eight studies evaluating NMSC. One of these studies also evaluated actinic keratosis. Although several studies satisfied some of the basic requirements of health economic evaluations, the majority had serious shortcomings that limit their usefulness.

There are a few high-quality health economic evaluations assessing treatments for NMSC or actinic keratosis. However, our analysis suggests that additional data on treatment practice patterns and epidemiology need to be collected, and incorporated with efficacy and safety data in a formal decision-analytic framework to assist decision makers in allocating scarce healthcare resources.

Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitchell K. Higashi
    • 1
  • David L. Veenstra
    • 1
  • Paul C. Langley
    • 2
  1. 1.Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program, Department of PharmacyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Health Economics Research3M Pharmaceuticals and University of Minnesota College of PharmacySt. PaulUSA

Personalised recommendations