Cost-effectiveness of zoledronic acid in the management of skeletal metastases in patients with lung cancer in France, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, and the United kingdom

Avani D Joshi, John A Carter, Marc F Botteman, Satyin Kaura
Clinical Therapeutics 2011, 33 (3): 291-304.e8

BACKGROUND: Zoledronic acid (ZOL) significantly reduces the risk of new skeletal-related events (SREs) in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have bone metastases.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess the cost and cost-effectiveness of ZOL in the management of skeletal metastases in this population across 5 European countries (France, Germany, United Kingdom, Portugal, and the Netherlands) from the perspective of national health care.

METHODS: This cost-effectiveness analysis was based on a subset of patients with NSCLC who were enrolled in a Phase III trial of patients with bone metastases secondary to a variety of solid tumors. In this trial, patients were randomized to receive ZOL or placebo every 3 weeks for up to 21 months. Survival, SRE incidence, and number of infusions administered were derived from the clinical trial. Costs of SREs were estimated using hospital Diagnosis Related Group tariffs and published data. Drug, drug administration, and supply costs were obtained from published and internet sources. Quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) were estimated based on the published utilities and modeled survival and frequency of SREs. Uncertainty surrounding outcomes was addressed via univariate and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.

RESULTS: Compared with patients receiving placebo (n = 120), patients receiving ZOL (n = 124) experienced an estimated 0.79 fewer SREs and gained an estimated 0.02 QALYs. ZOL use in patients with NSCLC and bone metastases was associated with a reduction in SRE costs (ranging from €1547 to €1893 [2007-2008 €], depending on the country). After adding drug and drug administration costs, ZOL use resulted in a net savings of €288 per patient in Germany, €209 in the United Kingdom, and €113 in Portugal. In France and the Netherlands, costs increased (€17 and €178, respectively), but the costs per QALY gained were low (€786 and €8278, respectively). In univariate sensitivity analyses, the cost per QALY for ZOL versus placebo was ≤€50,000 for all scenarios tested. The results were most sensitive to assumptions regarding survival, number of ZOL infusions, and the costs of SREs. The probabilistic sensitivity analysis indicated that ZOL cost ≤€50,000 per QALY in 65% to 83% of model simulations (depending on country). However, some degree of uncertainty remained as the 95th percentile of cost per QALY was high.

CONCLUSIONS: This analysis is subject to the usual limitations of cost-effectiveness models, which combine assumptions and data from multiple sources. Nevertheless, based on the assumptions used herein, the present model suggests that ZOL increases QALYs and is cost saving and/or cost effective compared with placebo in patients with NSCLC in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Portugal, and the Netherlands.

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