Publication Abstract

Authors: Krzyzanowska MK, Earle CC, Kuntz KM, Weeks JC

Title: Using economic analysis to evaluate the potential of multimodality therapy for elderly patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer.

Journal: Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 67(1):211-8

Date: 2007 Jan 01

Abstract: PURPOSE: Development of new and expensive drugs with activity against pancreatic cancer has made economic considerations more relevant to treatment decision-making for advanced disease. Economic modeling can be used to explore the potential of such novel therapies and to inform clinical trial design. METHODS AND MATERIALS: We developed a Markov model to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of radiation plus fluorouracil (RT-FU) relative to no treatment in elderly patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC) and to determine the economic potential of radiation plus gemcitabine (RT-GEM), a novel regimen for this disease. We used the SEER-Medicare database to estimate effectiveness and costs supplemented by data from the literature where necessary. RESULTS: Relative to no treatment, RT-FU was associated with a cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of $68,724/QALY in the base case analysis. Compared with RT-FU, the ICER for RT-GEM was below $100,000/QALY when the risk of dying with the new regimen was <85% than with the standard regimen. However, >1,000 subjects would be necessary to demonstrate this level of efficacy in a randomized trial. The ICER of RT-GEM was most sensitive to utility values, and, at lower efficacy levels, to costs of gemcitabine and treatment-related toxicity. CONCLUSIONS: In elderly patients with LAPC, RT-FU is a cost-effective alternative to no treatment. The novel regimen of RT-GEM is likely to be cost-effective at any clinically meaningful benefit, but quality-of-life issues, drug acquisition, and toxicity-related costs may be relevant, especially at lower efficacy levels.