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Economic evaluation of pemetrexed versus erlotinib as second-line treatment of patients with advanced/metastatic non-small cell lung cancer in Greece: a cost minimization analysis

Authors Fragoulakis V, Pallis A, Kateilidou, Maniadakis, Georgoulias V

Received 5 May 2012

Accepted for publication 31 May 2012

Published 16 July 2012 Volume 2012:3 Pages 43—51


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

VF Fragoulakis,1 AG Pallis,3 DK Kaitelidou,2 NM Maniadakis,1 VG Georgoulias3

1Department of Health Services Management, National School of Public Health, Athens, 2Center for Health Services Management and Evaluation, Department of Nursing, University of Athens, Athens, Greece; 3Department of Medical Oncology, University General Hospital of Heraklion, Voutes Crete, Greece

Objectives: An economic evaluation was conducted in conjunction with a prospective, multicenter, randomized trial, to compare pemetrexed with erlotinib in pretreated patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in Greece.
Methods: The effectiveness of treatments examined was comparable; thus, cost minimization analysis was conducted to evaluate which option is less costly. Patient-level resource utilization data were combined with unit cost data, which were aggregated to compute the total treatment cost for each patient. The analysis was conducted with respect to the individual incurring the cost. Due to the limited life-expectancy of the patients, discounting was unnecessary. Since data were right censored, the Bang and Tsiatis method was employed to identify unbiased estimators of the mean cost per treatment arm, while other methods were employed for sensitivity analysis. To analyze uncertainty and to construct uncertainty intervals (UI), stochastic analysis was performed based on 5000 bootstrap replications.
Results: The one-year survival rate was 28.3% in the pemetrexed arm and 31.7% in the erlotinib arm, while the corresponding median survival over the follow-up period was 7.1 and 6.7 months, respectively (P = 0.765). Total cost in the pemetrexed arm was €10508 (95% UI: €9552–€11488), while in the erlotinib arm the cost was €9563 (95% UI: €8499–€10711); thus, no statistically significant difference was found between the comparators (P = 0.206). Results remained constant for all sensitivity analyses.
Conclusions: There is no survival or cost difference between erlotinib and pemetrexed; thus, these therapies are equivalent. Further studies are needed to determine whether other parameters, such as quality of life, differ among treatment options.

Keywords: erlotinib, economic evaluation, lung cancer, pemetrexed

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