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Szu-Chun Yang, Yi-Chen Yeh, Yi-Lin Chen, and Chao-Hua Chiu

Background: This study sought to determine whether exclusionary EGFR mutation testing followed by next-generation sequencing (NGS) is a cost-efficient and timely strategy in areas with high prevalence rates of EGFR mutation. Methods: We developed a decision tree model to compare exclusionary EGFR testing followed by NGS and up-front NGS. Patients entered the model upon diagnosis of metastatic lung adenocarcinoma. Gene alterations with FDA-approved targeted therapies included EGFR, ALK, ROS1, BRAF, RET, MET, NTRK, and KRAS. Model outcomes were testing-related costs; time-to-test results; monetary loss, taking both costs and time into consideration; and percentage of patients who could be treated by FDA-approved therapies. Stacked 1-way and 3-way sensitivity analyses were performed. Results: Exclusionary EGFR testing incurred testing-related costs of US $1,387 per patient, a savings of US $1,091 compared with the costs of up-front NGS. The time-to-test results for exclusionary EGFR testing and up-front NGS were 13.0 and 13.6 days, respectively. Exclusionary EGFR testing resulted in a savings of US $1,116 in terms of net monetary loss, without a reduction of patients identified with FDA-approved therapies. The EGFR mutation rate and NGS cost had the greatest impact on minimizing monetary loss. Given that the tissue-based NGS turnaround time was shortened to 7 days, up-front NGS testing would become the best strategy if its price could be reduced to US $568 in Taiwan. Conclusions: In areas with high prevalence rates of EGFR mutation, exclusionary EGFR testing followed by NGS, rather than up-front NGS, is currently a cost-efficient strategy for metastatic lung adenocarcinoma.