5-Aminolevulinic Acid Hydrochloride (5 ALA)–Guided Surgical Resection of High-Grade Gliomas: A Health Technology Assessment

Ontario Health (Quality)
Record ID 32018000395
Authors' objectives: This health technology assessment evaluates the effectiveness and safety of 5-aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride (5 ALA)–guided surgical resection of high-grade gliomas in adults. It also evaluates the budget impact of publicly funding 5 ALA and the experiences, preferences, and values of a person with high-grade glioma.
Authors' results and conclusions: Results We included one systematic review reporting on a single randomized controlled trial in the clinical evidence review. 5 ALA increased the proportion of patients achieving complete tumour resection compared with standard care (relative risk of incomplete resection 0.55, 95% confidence interval 0.42–0.71; GRADE: Low). Evidence was uncertain for an effect on overall survival with 5 ALA (hazard ratio for death 0.82, 95% confidence interval 0.62–1.07; GRADE: Low), but there may be an improvement in 6-month progression-free survival (GRADE: Very low). Adverse events between groups was insufficiently reported, but appeared similar between groups for overall and neurological adverse events, with an observed increase in neurological deficits 48 hours after surgery with 5 ALA (GRADE: Very low). The economic literature search identified five studies that met our inclusion criteria because they evaluated the cost-effectiveness of 5 ALA–guided surgical resection as compared with surgery with a standard operating microscope under white light (“white-light microscopy”). Most of these studies found 5 ALA–guided surgical resection was cost-effective compared to white-light microscopy for high-grade gliomas. However, all studies derived clinical model inputs of the comparative safety and effectiveness parameters of 5 ALA from limited and low-quality evidence. Public funding of 5 ALA–guided surgical resection in Ontario over the next 5 years would result in a budget impact of about $930,000 in year 1 to about $1,765,000 in year 5, yielding a total budget impact of about $7,500,000 over this period. The one participant we interviewed had experience with high-grade glioma, standard surgical treatment, and 5 ALA–guided resection. The participant felt that 5 ALA–guided resection resulted in accurate tumour removal and also found it reassuring that 5-ALA could help the surgeon better visualize the tumour. Conclusions 5 ALA–guided surgical resection appears to improve the extent of resection of high-grade gliomas compared with surgery using standard white-light microscopy (GRADE: Low). The evidence suggests 5-ALA-guided resection may improve overall survival; however, we cannot exclude the possibility of no effect (Grade: Low). 5 ALA may improve 6-month progression-free survival, although the results are highly uncertain (GRADE: Very low). There is an uncertain impact on overall or neurological adverse events (GRADE: Very low). We did not identify any economic studies conducted from the perspective of the Ontario or Canadian public health care payer. Of the studies that met our inclusion criteria, most found 5 ALA–guided surgical resection was cost-effective compared to white-light microscopy for high-grade gliomas. However, clinical model inputs for the comparative effectiveness and safety of 5 ALA were based on limited and low-quality evidence. We estimate that publicly funding 5 ALA–guided surgical resection in Ontario over the next 5 years would result in a total 5-year budget impact of about $7,500,000. For people diagnosed with high-grade gliomas, 5 ALA is seen positively as a useful imaging tool for brain tumour resection.
Authors' recomendations: The Quality business unit at Ontario Health, based on guidance from the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, recommends publicly funding 5-aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride (5-ALA) for guiding maximal surgical resection of high-grade gliomas, conditional on Health Canada approval of the technology
Authors' methods: We performed a systematic literature search of the clinical evidence to retrieve systematic reviews, and selected and reported results from one review that was recent, of high quality, and relevant to our research question. We complemented the identified systematic review with a literature search to identify randomized controlled trials published after the review. We reported the risk of bias of each included study and the quality of the body of evidence according to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) Working Group criteria. We also performed a systematic economic literature search to identify economic studies that compared 5 ALA–guided surgical resection of high-grade gliomas with standard surgical care or other intraoperative imaging modalities. We did not conduct a primary economic evaluation due to lack of high-quality published clinical evidence evaluating 5 ALA–guided surgical resection. From the perspective of the Ontario Ministry of Health, we analyzed the 5-year budget impact of publicly funding 5 ALA–guided surgical resection for adults with newly diagnosed, primary, high-grade gliomas for which resection is considered feasible. To contextualize the potential value of 5 ALA, we spoke with someone who had experience with high-grade glioma, 5 ALA–guided resection, and standard surgical treatment.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2020
Requestor: Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC); Ontario Ministry of Health
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Full HTA
Country: Canada
Province: Ontario
Pubmed ID: 32194883
MeSH Terms
  • Glioma
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative
  • Aminolevulinic Acid
  • Brain Neoplasms
  • Ontario
  • 5-Aminolevulinic Acid Hydrochloride
  • 5 ALA
  • gliomas
  • budget impact analysis
  • surgical resection
Organisation Name: Ontario Health
Contact Address: 130 Bloor Street West, 10th Floor
Contact Name: Nancy Sikich
Contact Email: OH-HQO_hta-reg@ontariohealth.ca
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This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.