INTRODUCTION: Minimally invasive tests for Barrett's esophagus (BE) detection have raised the prospect of broader nonreflux-based testing. Cost-effectiveness studies have largely studied men aged 50 years with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms. We evaluated the comparative cost effectiveness of BE screening tests in GERD-based and GERD-independent testing scenarios. METHODS: Markov modeling was performed in 3 scenarios in 50 years old individuals: (i) White men with chronic GERD (GERD-based); (ii) GERD-independent (all races, men and women), BE prevalence 1.6%; and (iii) GERD-independent, BE prevalence 5%. The simulation compared multiple screening strategies with no screening: sedated endoscopy (sEGD), transnasal endoscopy, swallowable esophageal cell collection devices with biomarkers, and exhaled volatile organic compounds. A hypothetical cohort of 500,000 individuals followed for 40 years using a willingness to pay threshold of $100,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) was simulated. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) comparing each strategy with no screening and comparing screening strategies with each other were calculated. RESULTS: In both GERD-independent scenarios, most non-sEGD BE screening tests were cost effective. Swallowable esophageal cell collection devices with biomarkers were cost effective (<$35,000/QALY) and were the optimal screening tests in all scenarios. Exhaled volatile organic compounds had the highest ICERs in all scenarios. ICERs were low (<$25,000/QALY) for all tests in the GERD-based scenario, and all non-sEGD tests dominated no screening. ICERs were sensitive to BE prevalence and test costs. DISCUSSION: Minimally invasive nonendoscopic tests may make GERD-independent BE screening cost effective. Participation rates for these strategies need to be studied.
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