Graf von der Schulenburg, Johann-Matthias
Recently the sequencing of the human genome has become a major biological and clinical research field. However, the public health impact of this new technology with focus on the financial effect is not yet to be foreseen. To provide an overview of the current health economic evidence for genome sequencing, we conducted a thorough systematic review of the literature from 17 databases. In addition, we conducted a hand search. Starting with 5 520 records we ultimately included five full-text publications and one internet source, all focused on cost calculations. The results were very heterogeneous and, therefore, difficult to compare. Furthermore, because the methodology of the publications was quite poor, the reliability and validity of the results were questionable. The real costs for the whole sequencing workflow, including data management and analysis, remain unknown. Overall, our review indicates that the current health economic evidence for genome sequencing is quite poor. Therefore, we listed aspects that needed to be considered when conducting health economic analyses of genome sequencing. Thereby, specifics regarding the overall aim, technology, population, indication, comparator, alternatives after sequencing, outcomes, probabilities, and costs with respect to genome sequencing are discussed. For further research, at the outset, a comprehensive cost calculation of genome sequencing is needed, because all further health economic studies rely on valid cost data. The results will serve as an input parameter for budget-impact analyses or cost-effectiveness analyses.