Systematic review of economic evaluations of laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer

Rodolfo Andres Hernandez, Robyn De Verteuil, Cynthia Mary Fraser, Luke David Vale, Aberdeen Health Technology Assessment Group

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers and the standard surgical treatment for this cancer is open resection (OS), but laparoscopic surgery (LS) may be an alternative treatment. In 2000, a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) review found little evidence on costs and cost-effectiveness in comparing the two methods. The evidence base has since expanded and this study systematically reviews the economic evaluations on the subject published since 2000.

Method Systematic review of studies reporting costs and outcomes of LS vs OS for colorectal cancer. National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED) methods for abstract writing were followed. Studies were summarized and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) for common outcomes were calculated.

Results Five studies met the inclusion criteria. LS generally had higher healthcare costs. Most studies reported longer operational time and shorter length of stay and similar long-term outcomes with LS vs OS. Only one outcome, complications, was common across all studies but results lacked consistency (e.g. in two studies, OS was less costly but more effective; in another study, LS was less costly but more effective; and in the further two studies, LS could potentially be cost effective depending on the decision-makers' willingness to pay for the health gain).

Conclusion The evidence on cost-effectiveness is not consistent. LS was generally more costly than OS. However, the effectiveness data used in individual economic evaluation were imprecise and unreliable when compared with data from systematic reviews of effectiveness. Nevertheless, short-term benefits of LS (e.g. shorter recovery) may make LS appear less costly when productivity gains are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-868
Number of pages10
JournalColorectal Disease
Issue number9
Early online date9 Jul 2008
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

Bibliographical note

The definitive version is available at


  • Economic evaluation
  • cost effectiveness
  • systematic review
  • laparoscopic surgery
  • colorectal cancer
  • prospective randomized-trial
  • MRC clasicc trial
  • assisted surgery
  • clinical-trial
  • open colectomy
  • costs


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