Cost-effectiveness of second-line chemotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer: an economic, randomized, prospective, multicenter phase III trial comparing docetaxel and pemetrexed: the GFPC 05-06 study

Alain Vergnenegre, Romain Corre, Henri Berard, Dominique Paillotin, Cecile Dujon, Gilles Robinet, Jacky Crequit, Suzanna Bota, Pascal Thomas, Christos Chouaid
Journal of Thoracic Oncology 2011, 6 (1): 161-8

BACKGROUND: There are few data on the cost-effectiveness of second-line chemotherapies for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The objective of this phase III, randomized, multicenter, prospective study was to compare the cost-effectiveness of docetaxel and pemetrexed, two widely used drugs.

METHODS: We compared, from a payer's perspective, the directs costs and effectiveness of docetaxel (75 mg/m, arm A) and pemetrexed (500 mg/m, arm B) administered every 3 weeks to NSCLC patients who had progressed after first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Monthly health utilities (based on disease states: responding, stable or progressive, and grade 3/4 toxicities) were derived from the literature. Costs were prospectively assessed.

RESULTS: One hundred fifty patients were enrolled between February 2006 and June 2008. The patients in the docetaxel and pemetrexed arms had similar clinical characteristics and treatment efficacy (respective objective response rates 10.7% and 12%; median progression-free survival times 2.8 and 2.5 months; median survival times 8.0 and 6.4 months, respectively). Grade 3/4 toxicities were significantly less frequent with pemetrexed (52.0% versus 33.3%, p = 0.02). Docetaxel was associated with lower treatment-period costs (€9709 ± €6272 versus €13,436 ± €6508, p < 0.001). Docetaxel had a more favorable cost-utility ratio than pemetrexed. When compared with best supportive care, the cost-utility was €32,652/quality-adjusted life year for docetaxel and €40,980/quality-adjusted life year for pemetrexed.

CONCLUSION: Second-line treatment for NSCLC is more cost-effective with docetaxel than with pemetrexed. Both strategies have acceptable cost-effectiveness ratios compared with commonly used and reimbursed regimens for advanced NSCLC.

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