Cisplatin is a widely used chemotherapy drug in the treatment of pediatric solid tumors, but it is associated with significant rates of ototoxicity (medication-induced hearing loss). A genetic test has recently been developed that can help predict the likelihood that a cisplatin-treated pediatric patient will develop ototoxicity. This study estimates the potential economic impact of this test. Assuming that an alternative, non-preferred, medication to cisplatin exists that it is as efficacious as cisplatin but without the risk of hearing loss, and that the alternative treatment is no more expensive than current practice, we have estimated that administering this genetic test to every pediatric cancer patient for whom cisplatin is first-line therapy could potentially avoid an average of $71¿168 in societal costs per tested patient. This translates into a potential present value savings of over $2.4 million annually in British Columbia and over $19.6 million in Canada.The Pharmacogenomics Journal advance online publication, 19 April 2011; doi:10.1038/tpj.2011.15.
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