Cost-Utility Analysis of Non-Contrast Abbreviated Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Surveillance in Cirrhosis

Pakanat Decharatanachart, Wirichada Pan-Ngum, Thoetchai Peeraphatdit, Natthaporn Tanpowpong, Pisit Tangkijvanich, Sombat Treeprasertsuk, Rungsun Rerknimitr, Roongruedee Chaiteerakij

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: Ultrasonography has a low sensitivity for detecting early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in cirrhotic patients. Non-contrast abbreviated magnetic resonance imaging (aMRI) demonstrated a comparable performance to that of magnetic resonance imaging without the risk of contrast media exposure and at a lower cost than that of full diagnostic MRI. We aimed to investigate the cost-effectiveness of non-contrast aMRI for HCC surveillance in cirrhotic patients, using ultrasonography with alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) as a reference. Methods: Cost-utility analysis was performed using a Markov model in Thailand and the United States. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were calculated using the total costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained in each strategy. Surveillance protocols were considered cost-effective based on a willingness-to-pay value of $4,665 (160,000 Thai Baht) in Thailand and $50,000 in the United States. Results: aMRI was cost-effective in both countries with incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of $3,667/QALY in Thailand and $37,062/QALY in the United States. Patient-level microsimulations showed consistent findings that aMRI was cost-effective in both countries. By probabilistic sensitivity analysis, aMRI was found to be more cost-effective than combined ultrasonography and AFP with a probability of 0.77 in Thailand and 0.98 in the United States. By sensitivity analyses, annual HCC incidence was revealed as the most influential factor affecting cost-effectiveness. The cost-effectiveness of aMRI increased in settings with a higher HCC incidence. At a higher HCC incidence, aMRI would remain cost-effective at a higher aMRI-to-ultrasonography with AFP cost ratio. Conclusions: Compared to ultrasonography with AFP, non-contrast aMRI is a cost-effective strategy for HCC surveillance and may be useful for such surveillance in cirrhotic patients, especially in those with high HCC risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-146
Number of pages12
JournalGut and Liver
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Chronic liver disease
  • Cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Early detection of cancer
  • Liver neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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