Decision Framework for Chemotherapeutic Interventions for Metastatic Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer
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BACKGROUND: Best supportive care has long been considered to be the standard therapy for metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). There is now evidence from randomized trials that a number of chemotherapy regimens can palliate cancer-related symptoms and modestly improve survival. We show how cost-effectiveness analyses can be used to make choices between different (ambulatory) chemotherapy regimens. METHODS: Clinical algorithms describing the diagnosis, staging, and treatment of metastatic NSCLC were incorporated into Statistics Canada's Population Health Model. Using consistent methodology, we assessed the cost-effectiveness of several chemotherapeutic interventions: a combination of vindesine (VDS) plus cisplatin, etoposide (VP-16) plus cisplatin, vinblastine (VLB) plus cisplatin, vinorelbine (Navelbine; NVB) plus cisplatin, paclitaxel (Taxol) plus cisplatin, and gemcitabine (GEM) and NVB alone. We calculated the total chemotherapy costs in 1995 Canadian dollars, the cost per case, the average life-years saved, and the cost per life-year saved. Using the Population Health Model, we then constructed an advanced decision framework that rank-ordered the various treatment regimens so as to optimize benefit below various cost-effectiveness thresholds. RESULTS: One regimen (VLB plus cisplatin) appears to result in better survival and lower health care expenditures than best supportive care. By use of cost-effectiveness thresholds of $25,000 and $50,000 per life-year gained, NVB plus cisplatin is the preferred regimen. When quality of life is considered, however, GEM is preferred to NVB plus cisplatin at a threshold value of $50,000. At thresholds of $75 000 and $100,000, paclitaxel plus cisplatin at a dose of 135 mg/m(2) is the preferred regimen. At thresholds of $50,000 and above, best supportive care is the least preferred regimen. CONCLUSIONS: This decision framework allows the comparison of different treatment regimens based on various cost-effectiveness thresholds. Our analysis also supports the use of chemotherapy regimens and the abandonment of best supportive care as the standard of care for patients with advanced NSCLC. [J Natl Cancer Inst 2000;92:1321-9].
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