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PURPOSE: The translation of genome sequencing into routine health care has been slow, partly because of concerns about affordability. The aspirational cost of sequencing a genome is $1000, but there is little evidence to support this estimate. We estimate the cost of using genome sequencing in routine clinical care in patients with cancer or rare diseases. METHODS: We performed a microcosting study of Illumina-based genome sequencing in a UK National Health Service laboratory processing 399 samples/year. Cost data were collected for all steps in the sequencing pathway, including bioinformatics analysis and reporting of results. Sensitivity analysis identified key cost drivers. RESULTS: Genome sequencing costs £6841 per cancer case (comprising matched tumor and germline samples) and £7050 per rare disease case (three samples). The consumables used during sequencing are the most expensive component of testing (68-72% of the total cost). Equipment costs are higher for rare disease cases, whereas consumable and staff costs are slightly higher for cancer cases. CONCLUSION: The cost of genome sequencing is underestimated if only sequencing costs are considered, and likely surpasses $1000/genome in a single laboratory. This aspirational sequencing cost will likely only be achieved if consumable costs are considerably reduced and sequencing is performed at scale.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/s41436-019-0618-7

Type

Journal article

Journal

Genet Med

Publication Date

30/07/2019

Keywords

cancer, cost, genome sequencing, next-generation sequencing, rare diseases