Economic evaluations are increasingly being incorporated into randomised controlled trials. In order to overcome the practical difficulties experienced by others in trying to assess at the outset of a trial those data which might be important , a discrete event simulation model was developed to identify the key determinants for the economic analysis incorporated into the UK Co-ordinating Committee on Cancer Research (UKCCCR) Adjuvant Breast Cancer (ABC) Trial. Once the key variables have been identified, further data collection will be concentrated on those key parameters, thus ensuring that data collection during the trial is kept to a minimum.
This paper describes the ABC trial and the approach taken for the economic evaluation. Details are given on how the computer model was built and validated. Although the methods presented here are applied specifically to the economic evaluation for the ABC trial, the approach is applicable to economic evaluations integrated into clinical trials generally.