The cost-effectiveness of 5-ALA in high-grade glioma surgery: A quality-based systematic review

Nebras M. Warsi, Rahel Zewude, Brij Karmur, Neda Pirouzmand, Laureen Hachem, Alireza Mansouri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: High-grade gliomas (HGGs) are aggressive tumors that inevitably recur due to their diffusely infiltrative nature. Intraoperative adjuncts such as 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) have shown promise in increasing extent of resection. As the prospect of increased use of 5-ALA rises, a systematic overview of the health economics of this adjunct is critical. Methods: Medline, EMBASE, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, EconPapers, and Cochrane databases were searched for keywords relating to glioma, cost-effectiveness, and 5-ALA. Primary studies reporting on the health economics or cost-effectiveness of 5-ALA compared to white light surgery in HGG were included. Quality was assessed using the British Medical Journal guidelines. Results: Three studies were identified. All were European and conducted from the perspective of national healthcare systems. Two studies demonstrated the cost-utility of 5-ALA compared to white light (C$12,817 and C$13,508/quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs)). One assessed the cost-utility per gross total resection (C$6,813). Both these values were below the national cost-effectiveness thresholds for each respective study. The third study demonstrated no significant difference in cost of 5-ALA in glioblastoma resection (C$14,732) compared to prior to its routine use (C$15,936). The quality of these studies ranged from moderate to average. None of these studies considered patient perspective or indirect costs in their analysis. Conclusions: Growing evidence exists examining the health economic benefit of 5-ALA as an intraoperative adjunct for HGG resection. Additional studies within the Canadian context using 5-ALA, specifically incorporating patient and societal perspectives into the cost-utility analyses, are necessary to solidify this line of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-799
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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