A cost-effectiveness analysis of docetaxel versus pemetrexed in second-line chemotherapy for stage IIIb or IV non-small cell lung cancer in China

Yong-feng Yu, Zhi-wei Chen, Zhen Zhou, Zheng-bo Song, Zi-ming Li, Hong Jian, Yi-fei Zhang, Shun Lu
Chemotherapy 2010, 56 (6): 472-7

BACKGROUND: To study the cost-efficacy of docetaxel and pemetrexed as single agents versus platinum-based combination agents in second-line treatment of stage IIIb or IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients by evaluating chemotherapeutic indexes and medical costs.

METHODS: Treatment responses were evaluated by progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), hematological and gastrointestinal toxicities.

RESULTS: Two hundred and seven stage IIIb or IV NSCLC patients were recruited to this clinical observation retrospective study. Thirty-four subjects were treated with docetaxel (group A), 98 with platinum-based doublet chemotherapy with docetaxel (group B), 42 with pemetrexed (group C), and 33 patients with platinum-based doublet combination therapy with pemetrexed (group D). The average PFS of groups A and B was 3.28 and 4.58 months, respectively (p = 0.042). The mean PFS of groups C and D was 3.1 and 4.98 months, respectively (p = 0.017). The mean OS of these groups was 12.88, 13.17, 12.40 and 13.04 months, respectively, without significant differences. The total medical costs in these four groups amounted to USD 5,533, 7,745, 8,569 and 15,291, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Platinum-based doublet chemotherapy with docetaxel or pemetrexed could significantly increase PFS, however, without significant OS improvement in comparison with using them as single agents. The medical expenses associated with doublet therapy were much higher than those associated with single therapy with a significant portion of the medical expenses spent on treating hematological and gastrointestinal toxicity.

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