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OBJECTIVE: To assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of photodynamic diagnosis (PDD) compared with white light cystoscopy (WLC), and urine biomarkers [fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH), ImmunoCyt, NMP22] and cytology for the detection and follow-up of bladder cancer. DATA SOURCES: Major electronic databases including MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process, EMBASE, BIOSIS, Science Citation Index, Health Management Information Consortium and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register were searched until April 2008. REVIEW METHODS: A systematic review of the literature was carried out according to standard methods. An economic model was constructed to assess the cost-effectiveness of alternative diagnostic and follow-up strategies for the diagnosis and management of patients with bladder cancer. RESULTS: In total, 27 studies reported PDD test performance. In pooled estimates [95% confidence interval (CI)] for patient-level analysis, PDD had higher sensitivity than WLC [92% (80% to 100%) versus 71% (49% to 93%)] but lower specificity [57% (36% to 79%) versus 72% (47% to 96%)]. Similar results were found for biopsy-level analysis. The median sensitivities (range) of PDD and WLC for detecting lower risk, less aggressive tumours were similar for patient-level detection [92% (20% to 95%) versus 95% (8% to 100%)], but sensitivity was higher for PDD than for WLC for biopsy-level detection [96% (88% to 100%) versus 88% (74% to 100%)]. For more aggressive, higher-risk tumours the median sensitivity of PDD for both patient-level [89% (6% to 100%)] and biopsy-level [99% (54% to 100%)] detection was higher than those of WLC [56% (0% to 100%) and 67% (0% to 100%) respectively]. Four RCTs comparing PDD with WLC reported effectiveness outcomes. PDD use at transurethral resection of bladder tumour resulted in fewer residual tumours at check cystoscopy [relative risk, RR, 0.37 (95% CI 0.20 to 0.69)] and longer recurrence-free survival [RR 1.37 (95% CI 1.18 to 1.59)] compared with WLC. In 71 studies reporting the performance of biomarkers and cytology in detecting bladder cancer, sensitivity (95% CI) was highest for ImmunoCyt [84% (77% to 91%)] and lowest for cytology [44% (38% to 51%)], whereas specificity was highest for cytology [96% (94% to 98%)] and lowest for ImmunoCyt [75% (68% to 83%)]. In the cost-effectiveness analysis the most effective strategy in terms of true positive cases (44) and life-years (11.66) [flexible cystoscopy (CSC) and ImmunoCyt followed by PDD in initial diagnosis and CSC followed by WLC in follow-up] had an incremental cost per life-year of over 270,000 pounds. The least effective strategy [cytology followed by WLC in initial diagnosis (average cost over 20 years 1403 pounds, average life expectancy 11.59)] was most likely to be considered cost-effective when society's willingness to pay was less than 20,000 pounds per life-year. No strategy was cost-effective more than 50% of the time, but four of the eight strategies in the probabilistic sensitivity analysis (three involving a biomarker or PDD) were each associated with a 20% chance of being considered cost-effective. In sensitivity analyses the results were most sensitive to the pretest probability of disease (5% in the base case). CONCLUSIONS: The advantages of PDD's higher sensitivity in detecting bladder cancer have to be weighed against the disadvantages of a higher false-positive rate. Taking into account the assumptions made in the model, strategies involving biomarkers and/or PDD provide additional benefits at a cost that society might be willing to pay. Strategies replacing WLC with PDD provide more life-years but it is unclear whether they are worth the extra cost.

Original publication




Journal article


Health technol assess

Publication Date





1 - iv


Biomarkers, Tumor, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Cystoscopy, Decision Support Techniques, Diagnostic Techniques, Urological, Humans, In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence, Incidence, Models, Economic, Nuclear Proteins, Photosensitizing Agents, Prevalence, Sensitivity and Specificity, Treatment Outcome, United Kingdom, Urinary Bladder, Urinary Bladder Neoplasms