Buja A, Rugge M, De Luca G, Zorzi M, De Toni C, Cozzolino C, Vecchiato A, Del Fiore P, Tropea S, Spina R, Baldo V, Rossi CR, Mocellin S.

Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2022 Apr 15. doi: 10.1007/s13555-022-00715-z. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: A number of studies have examined the impact of tumor stage on direct health care costs of patients with melanoma. This study aimed to investigate the association between the direct costs for melanoma and the patients' clinical and histological characteristics.

Methods: The present analysis included 1368 patients diagnosed with melanoma in 2017 in the Veneto Region (northeast Italy) and recorded in a regional population-based melanoma registry. The costs were assessed taking monthly and total direct costs into account. Log-linear multivariable analysis was used to identify the clinical and histological cost drivers, focusing on monthly and total direct costs per patient incurred during the first 2 years after a patient's diagnosis.

Results: On multivariable analysis, besides the stage of melanoma, also the presence of mitoses (> 2) was associated with higher monthly direct costs [odds ratio (OR) 1.55, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.15-2.08, p = 0.004] in respect to cases with 0-2 mitoses. Vertical growth was associated with higher costs compared with radial growth (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.00-1.64, p = 0.055). Moreover, the association between the absence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and higher monthly direct costs reached statistical significance (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.05-1.64, p = 0.017). There were no differences in monthly direct costs by patients' sex or age, ulceration, or tumor site.

Conclusion: This study showed that not only tumor stage but also other clinical and histopathologic characteristics have an impact on the direct monthly and total costs of treating melanoma. Further studies on the cost-effectiveness of the various options for managing this disease should take these variables into account, as well as tumor stage, as cost drivers.

Pubmed https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35426606/