Neuroblastoma screening evaluation hailed as model of health assessment
(13 August 2005: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- A Canadian study, which demonstrated the ineffectiveness of neuroblastoma screening of newborns, was cited as a "well-designed evaluation" of a proposed health care intervention strategy in an analysis published in the August 3 Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI).
The Quebec Neuroblastoma Screening Project (QNSP) was designed to test the benefits and costs of such screening before it was widely adopted in North America. About 92 percent of babies born in Quebec between 1989 and 1994 were screened during the study. In 2002, QNSP researchers reported that the testing did not reduce mortality from the disease, and that the unnecessary testing and treatment also caused adverse health effects. Those findings led to the abandonment of plans for widespread neuroblastoma screening in the United States and Canada, and also caused Japan to end its already established screening program.
In the new analysis, researchers - led by Dr. Lee Soderstrom of McGill University in Montreal - compared the $8.8 million cost of the QNSP against the estimated costs if neuroblastoma screening had been implemented in North America. In addition to the projected $574 million savings in health care costs, the investigators estimated there would have been unnecessary treatment of 9,223 children and false-positive findings for 5,003 children screened.
Return to Vidyya Medical News Service for 13 August 2005