A trial-based cost-effectiveness analysis of letrozole followed by tamoxifen versus tamoxifen followed by letrozole for postmenopausal advanced breast cancer

J Karnon, S R.D. Johnston, T Jones, A Glendenning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background:

Third-generation aromatase inhibitors are being considered as an alternative to tamoxifen as first-line therapy for advanced breast cancer. These newer therapies are more expensive, and will gain greater acceptance if they can demonstrate cost-effectiveness.

Methods:

Life table analyses are used to compare the costs and benefits [life years gained and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained] of treating postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer with first-line letrozole (with the option of second-line tamoxifen) compared with first-line tamoxifen (with the option of second-line letrozole). Patient-level data from a large clinical trial describes the effectiveness of the therapy options, clinicians estimate resource usage and utility values are obtained from the literature.

Results:

The mean cost of providing first- and second-line hormonal therapy is £4765 if letrozole is the first-line therapy and £3418 if tamoxifen is provided first (a difference of £1347). However, patients receiving letrozole as first-line therapy gain an additional 0.228 life years, or 0.158 QALYs. The cost-effectiveness analysis found that first-line hormonal therapy with letrozole gains additional life years at a cost of £5917, whilst the cost per additional QALY gained is £8514.

Conclusion:

The strategy of letrozole as first-line hormonal therapy not only provides an opportunity for extending and improving patient’s quality of life, but also is highly cost-effective compared with other generally accepted medical treatments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1629-1633
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Volume14
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Advanced breast cancer
  • clinical trial
  • cost-effectiveness

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