Durham, NC, USA – The advent of genetic testing provides individuals and health care systems the opportunity to acquire information about predispositions to cancers and other diseases. Whether this information is useful depends on the existence of efficacious health interventions to mitigate any potential risk. Genetic testing is expensive, and a justification for its inclusion in population-screening or insurance-based systems requires sophisticated economic evaluations.
Researchers at RTI International, Duke Clinical Research Institute, and the Center for Engineering and Health at Northwestern University conducted an economic evaluation of genetic test information for colorectal cancer risks using survey data from a representative sample of US residents aged 50 and over. The evaluation employed conjoint analyses or discrete choice experiments with a conceptual framework to estimate an individual’s personal valuation of genetic tests based on costs for preventing and monitoring colorectal cancer. The monetary equivalent of test information was approximately $1,800 – greater than the unit costs of many types of genetic tests. While these results discourage the inclusion of genetic testing in large-scale programs at the current costs, testing may be beneficial for particular groups of individuals, such as large, less affluent, and employed households, or even larger populations in the future.
The full study, “Valuations of Genetic Test Information for Treatable Conditions: The Case of Colorectal Cancer Screening,” is published in Value in Health.