Endocrinol Metab.  2015 Dec;30(4):531-542. 10.3803/EnM.2015.30.4.531.

Economic Evaluation of Recombinant Human Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Stimulation vs. Thyroid Hormone Withdrawal Prior to Radioiodine Ablation for Thyroid Cancer: The Korean Perspective

  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Myongji Hospital, Seonam University College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea.
  • 2Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Thyroid Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. thyroid@skku.edu


Previous studies have suggested that recombinant human thyroid stimulating hormone (rhTSH) stimulation is an acceptable alternative to thyroid hormone withdrawal (THW) when radioiodine remnant ablation is planned for thyroid cancer treatment, based on superior short-term quality of life with non-inferior remnant ablation efficacy. This study evaluated the cost-effectiveness of radioiodine remnant ablation using rhTSH, compared with the traditional preparation method which renders patients hypothyroid by THW, in Korean perspective.
This economic evaluation considered the costs and benefits to the Korean public healthcare system. Clinical experts were surveyed regarding the current practice of radioiodine ablation in Korea and their responses helped inform assumptions used in a cost effectiveness model. Markov modelling with 17 weekly cycles was used to assess the incremental costs per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) associated with rhTSH. Clinical inputs were based on a multi-center, randomized controlled trial comparing remnant ablation success after rhTSH preparation with THW. The additional costs associated with rhTSH were considered relative to the clinical benefits and cost offsets.
The additional benefits of rhTSH (0.036 QALY) are achieved with an additional cost of Korean won 961,105, equating to cost per QALY of 26,697,361. Sensitivity analyses had only a modest impact upon cost-effectiveness, with one-way sensitivity results of approximately 33,000,000/QALY.
The use of rhTSH is a cost-effective alternative to endogenous hypothyroid stimulation prior to radioiodine ablation for patients who have undergone thyroidectomy in Korea.


Cost-effectiveness; Hypothyroid; Thyrotropin alfa; Thyroid neoplasms; Radioiodine; Ablation
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