Gefitinib for the first-line treatment of locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer

T Brown, A Boland, A Bagust, J Oyee, J Hockenhull, Y Dundar, R Dickson, V S Ramani, C Proudlove
Health Technology Assessment: HTA 2010, 14 (Suppl. 2): 71-9
This paper presents a summary of the evidence review group (ERG) report into the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of gefitinib for the first-line treatment of locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, in accordance with the licensed indication, based upon the manufacturer's submission to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as part of the single technology appraisal process. The submitted clinical evidence consisted of the IRESSA Pan-ASian Study (IPASS); a phase III open-label randomised controlled trial conducted in 87 centres in East Asia which compared the use of gefitinib with paclitaxel/carboplatin in 1217 chemotherapy (CTX)-naive patients with stage IIIB/IV pulmonary adenocarcinoma. The manufacturer's submission focused on a subgroup of patients in IPASS who were epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutation-positive (M+) (n = 261; 21% of the total IPASS population). The primary clinical outcome was progression-free survival (PFS). Secondary outcomes included overall survival, clinically relevant improvement in quality of life and adverse events (AEs). Cost-effectiveness was measured in terms of incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). In the overall population, PFS was significantly longer in patients treated with gefitinib than in those treated with paclitaxel/carboplatin (hazard ratio 0.74, 95% confidence interval 0.65 to 0.85; p < 0.0001). The manufacturer reported an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of 20,744 pounds per QALY gained for the target population. The probabilistic sensitivity analysis illustrated that for patients who are EGFR M+, gefitinib compared with doublet CTX was not likely to be cost-effective at what would usually be considered standard levels of willingness to pay for an additional QALY; the mean ICER for gefitinib EGFR M+ versus doublet CTX EGFR M+ was reported as 35,700 pounds per QALY. Additional analysis by the ERG included amendments to the base-case analysis, including an alternative approach to projecting survival, inclusion of two important additional comparators, sensitivity to EGFR M+ prevalence, and AE costs and disutilities. The manufacturer's submission provides clinical evidence to support the use of gefitinib in EGFR M+ patients with adenocarcinoma histology only. Before patients can be offered first-line treatment with gefitinib they must undergo EGFR mutation status testing which is currently not routinely available in the NHS. At the time of writing, the guidance document issued by NICE on 28 July 2010 states that 'Gefitinib is recommended as an option for the first-line treatment of people with locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) if they test positive for the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase (EGFR-TK) mutation and the manufacturer provides gefitinib at the fixed price agreed under the patient access scheme'.

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