Cost utility analysis of early adjuvant letrozole or anastrozole versus tamoxifen in postmenopausal women with early invasive breast cancer: the UK perspective

Jonathan Karnon, Thomas Delea, Vicki Barghout
European Journal of Health Economics: HEPAC: Health Economics in Prevention and Care 2008, 9 (2): 171-83
Five years with the aromatase inhibitors letrozole or anastrozole is clinically superior to 5 years tamoxifen in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer. This paper analyses the cost-effectiveness of the aromatase inhibitors compared to tamoxifen using the same health economic model. A Markov model describes lifetime incidence of breast cancer events and treatment-related adverse events. Probabilities of disease progression, adverse events, and utility values were estimated using secondary sources; costs of breast-cancer care were obtained from a primary costing study. The incremental cost per QALY gained of letrozole vs. tamoxifen is 10,379pounds (95% CI 6,705-23,574pounds), and of anastrozole versus tamoxifen is 11,428pounds (95% CI 6,211-48,795pounds). If a 5-year carry over effect for the reduction in breast cancer events is assumed, the incremental costs per QALY gained compared to tamoxifen are 6,253pounds (95% CI 3,675-14,766pounds) for letrozole and 7,015pounds (95% CI 3,316-31,997pounds) for anastrozole. Five years of letrozole or anastrozole therapy is cost-effective in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer. Though the respective confidence intervals show significant overlap, letrozole has a 95% probability of being more cost-effective than tamoxifen at a 20,000pounds QALY value, whilst anastrozole has an 85% probability.

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