Cost-effectiveness analysis of paclitaxel + carboplatin vs. alternative combinations in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer

Mario Eandi



Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer and its medical and economical burden represents a serious matter in Europe and Usa, due to its high mortality rates and drug costs. Lung cancer is responsible for about 30% of cancer death in men and women; in Europe only about 8 per cent of people with lung cancer survive for 5 years. At present combination chemotherapy based on cisplatin or carboplatin associated with paclitaxel, vinorelbine or gemcitabine is the state of the art for the treatment in patients with stage IIIb or IV NSCLC. Aim of this study was to compare the cost-effectiveness of paclitaxel/carboplatin (PCb), gemcitabine/cisplatin (GC) and vinorelbine/cisplatin (VC) in the perspective of the Italian National Health Service. Therefore we perfomed a semi-Markov decision model mainly based on clinical results from the Italian Lung Cancer Project. The model included differential direct medical costs registered for two years from starting chemotherapy, using tariffs valid for 2005. Benefits was measured by years of life saved (YOLs). The model also allowed to estimate only costs accrued over the period of time, performing a cost-minimisation analysis. According to cost-effectiveness analysis, VC is dominated because it’s more costly and less effective than GC. On the contrary, combination chemotherapy with GC is more inexpensive but less effective than paclitaxel/carboplatin (PCb): in this case we compared the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) with a maximum acceptable willingness-to-pay (WTP) value. In the base scenario the ICER of PCb over GC treatment is 52,326 euro/ YOLs, which is definitely lower than the maximum acceptable WTP value. Sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of the results from cost-effectiveness analysis in the base scenario.


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); Paclitaxel/carboplatin; Gemcitabine/cisplatin; Vinorelbine/cisplatin; Cost-effectiveness analysis

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