Background: In the last decade, a number of new treatment modalities have been developed for patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The clinical effects are encouraging, but little is known about the costs and cost-effectiveness of new drugs. Methods: A Markov chain model has been developed to project patient outcomes and costs for patients with advanced SCLC. All patients in the control group were treated with etoposide-cisplatin chemotherapy. Patients in the study group received a hypothetical new drug. The model consisted of four states: response, stable disease, progressive disease, and death. Estimates of transition probabilities were calculated using published data on survival and recurrence-free survival. For the cost analysis and utility calculation, published data and expert opinion were used as sources. The duration of the follow-up was maximal 2 years. Results: The total treatment costs in the etoposide-cisplatin group amounted to €16 038 and in the alternative treatment groups between €16 644 and €18 171. The number of life years and quality adjusted life years (QALYs) gained were very small, around 16 days. The cost-effectiveness ratio varied between €22 208 and €81 443 and the cost-utility ratio varied accordingly. Results of the sensitivity analysis showed that the results were robust in favor of etoposide-cisplatin treatment. Conclusion: SCLC is an illness with a poor prognosis which needed substantial healthcare resources to optimise patient survival and overall quality of life. New treatment modalities with better outcome and favourable cost-effective profiles can hopefully be developed.

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Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Uyl-de Groot, C., McDonnell, J., ten Velde, G., Radice, D., & Groen, H. (2006). Cost-effectiveness of hypothetical new cancer drugs in patients with advanced small-cell lung cancer: Results of a Markov chain model. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 2(3), 317–323. doi:10.2147/tcrm.2006.2.3.317