Navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) is used to identify the motor cortex prior to surgery. Yet, there has, until now, been no published evidence on the economic impact of nTMS. This study aims to analyze the cost-effectiveness of nTMS, evaluating the incremental costs of nTMS motor mapping per additional quality-adjusted life year (QALY). By doing so, this study also provides a model allowing for future analysis of general cost-effectiveness of new neuro-oncological treatment options.
The authors used a microsimulation model based on their cohort population sampled for 1000 patients over the time horizon of 2 years. A health care provider perspective was used to assemble direct costs of total treatment. Transition probabilities and health utilities were based on published literature. Effects were stated in QALYs and established for health state subgroups.
In all scenarios, preoperative mapping was considered cost-effective with a willingness-to-pay threshold < 3*per capita GDP (gross domestic product). The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of nTMS versus no nTMS was 45,086 Euros/QALY. Sensitivity analyses showed robust results with a high impact of total treatment costs and utility of progression-free survival. Comparing the incremental costs caused by nTMS implementation only, the ICER decreased to 1967 Euros/QALY.
Motor mapping prior to surgery provides a cost-effective tool to improve the clinical outcome and overall survival of high-grade glioma patients in a resource-limited setting. Moreover, the model used in this study can be used in the future to analyze new treatment options in neuro-oncology in terms of their general cost-effectiveness.