Cost-effectiveness of selective decontamination of the digestive tract to decrease infectious complications in colorectal cancer surgery: An analysis of the SELECT trial

the SELECT-trial group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) is effective in reducing infectious complications in elective colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery. However, it is unclear whether SDD is cost-effective compared to standard antibiotic prophylaxis. Material & methods: Economic evaluation alongside multicenter randomized controlled trial, the SELECT-trial, from a healthcare perspective. Patients included underwent elective surgery for non-metastatic CRC. The intervention group received oral non-absorbable colistin, tobramycin and amphotericin B (SDD) next to standard antibiotic prophylaxis. Both groups received a single shot intravenous cefazolin and metronidazole preoperatively as standard prophylaxis. Occurrence of postoperative infectious complication in the first 30 postoperative days was extracted from medical records, Quality-Adjusted Life-Years (QALYs) based on the ED-5D-3L, and healthcare costs collected from the hospital's financial administration. Results: Of the 455 patients, 228 were randomly assigned to intervention group and 227 patients to the control group. SDD significantly reduced the number of infectious complications compared to control (difference = −0.13, 95 % CI -0.05 to −0.20). No difference was found for QALYs (difference = 0.002, 95 % CI -0.002 to 0.005). Healthcare costs were statistically significantly lower in the intervention group (difference = −€1258, 95 % CI -2751 to −166). The ICER was −9872 €/infectious complication prevented and −820,380 €/QALY gained. For all willingness-to-pay thresholds, the probability that prophylactic SDD was cost-effective compared to standard prophylactic practice alone was 1.0. Conclusion: The addition of SDD to the standard preoperative intravenous antibiotic prophylaxis is cost-effective compared to standard prophylactic practice from a healthcare perspective and should be considered as the standard of care.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107116
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number12
Early online date27 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • Anastomotic leakage
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Infectious complications
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Surgical site infection

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