Country-by-country estimates of the macroeconomic disease burden of central nervous system (CNS) cancers are important when determining the allocation of resources related to neuro-oncology. Accordingly, in this study the authors investigated macroeconomic losses related to CNS cancer in 173 countries and identified pertinent epidemiological trends.
Data for CNS cancer incidence, mortality, and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were collected from the Global Burden of Disease 2019 database. Gross domestic product data were combined with DALY data to estimate economic losses using a value of lost welfare approach.
The mortality-to-incidence ratio of CNS cancer in 2019 was 0.60 in high-income regions compared to 0.82 in Sub-Saharan Africa and 0.87 in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Welfare losses varied across both high- and low-income countries. Welfare losses attributable to CNS cancer in Japan represented 0.07% of the gross domestic product compared to 0.23% in Germany. In low- and middle-income countries, Iraq reported welfare losses of 0.20% compared to 0.04% in Angola. Globally, the DALY rate in 2019 was the same for CNS cancer as for prostate cancer at 112 per 100,000 person-years, despite a 75% lower incidence rate, equating to CNS cancer welfare losses of 182 billion US dollars.
Macroeconomic losses vary across high- and low-income settings and appear to be region specific. These differences may be explained by differences in regional access to screening and diagnosis, population-level genetic predispositions, and environmental risk factors. Mortality-to-incidence ratios are higher in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries, highlighting possible gaps in treatment access. Quantification of macroeconomic losses related to CNS cancer can help to justify the spending of finite resources to improve outcomes for neuro-oncological patients globally.