[Background] Non-myeloablative regimens have been proven to allow engraftment following allogeneic stem cells transplantation with minimal procedure-related toxicity and lower costs. Cord blood has emerged as an appealing alternative source of hematopoietic stem cells for unrelated donor transplantation, but delayed engraftment and frequent transfusion were reported. No studies have formally evaluated the cost of reduced-intensity cord blood transplantation (RICBT).

[Purpose] To evaluate the relationship among costs, baseline patient characteristics, and major complications of RICBT, we performed an economic analysis of data in a clinical trial of RICBT for hematologic diseases at a single institution.

[Patients and Methods] Ninety-three patients with hematological diseases (median age, 55y; range, 17–79: median body weight, 53kg; range, 38–75) underwent RICBT from March 2002 to May 2004 in Toranomon Hospital. Mean follow-up period was 77 days (range, 13–863). Data on resource use, including hospitalizations, medical procedures, medications, and diagnostic tests, were abstracted from subjects’ clinical trial records. Resources were valued using the Japanese national insurance reimbursement system for inpatient costs at one hospital and average wholesale prices for medications. Monthly costs were calculated and stratified by treatment group and clinical phase.

[Results] The median initial inpatient cost was $80,400 (range, 41,300–154,700). When baseline variables were considered, disease status was significant predictor of costs. When clinical events were considered, in-hospital death was associated with higher costs. The mean length of total inpatient days was 78 days (range, 31–222), and the mean length of inpatient days post transplant was 51 days (range, 15–131). The mean units of transfused RBC, Platelet, and FFP were 27u, 224u, and 27u, respectively.

[Discussion] This study firstly demonstrates that the cost of RICBT was much higher as compared to previous RIST using peripheral blood or bone marrow. RICBT is an attractive therapy, however, economic problem lies before prevalence of RICBT. The increased numbers of transfusions and supportive care would have effects on costs. The association between mortality and higher costs suggest that prevention of clinical complication may have significant economic benefits. Interventions that decrease these complications may have favorable cost-benefit ratios, and will be the focus of future investigation.

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