Cost and clinical benefit of imaging surveillance after treatment for breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)

Recent UK guidelines recommend that surveillance imaging should not be offered to patients who have undergone treatment for breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) unless clinically indicated. The aim of this study was to explore the evolving practice at a tertiary referral unit and quantify the direct economic costs (DEC) associated with post-treatment BIA-ALCL routine radiological surveillance prior to adoption of the guidelines. Eleven patients were treated for BIA-ALCL between 2015 and 2020. At a median follow-up of 38 months (IQR 12–47) there were no local or distant relapses. Two patients did not have any radiological surveillance and 1 had follow-up elsewhere. The remaining 8 patients had a combination of positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) (n = 10), CT (n = 2), breast ultrasound (n = 6), mammogram (n = 4) and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (n = 1) as routine imaging follow-up not guided by clinical concerns. Total cost of imaging was £10,396 (€12,257) with a median cost of £1953 (€2304) per patient [IQR £526-2029 (€621-2394)]. This cost could have been saved based on current guidelines recommending no routine surveillance for asymptomatic patients.

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