Objective: To estimate the cost-utility of dasatinib versus high-dose imatinib (HDI, imatinib 800mg/day) for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in patients with resistance to imatinib at standard doses.

Methods: We adapted to the Canadian setting a Markov model with a monthly cycle length that followed hypothetical patients until death. Cost effectiveness was evaluated during three phases of CML: chronic (86% of Ontario patients in 2006), accelerated (9%) and blast crisis (5%). Efficacy of dasatinib and HDI (cytogenetic and hematologic response) and adverse events (AEs) were taken from randomized trials. Canadian costs of medications, laboratory tests, professional fees, hospitalizations, and AEs were obtained from published sources. Societal utility scores were estimated from a Canadian time trade-off study. Analyses were performed from the perspective of the Ontario Ministry of Health. Costs (2006 CDN$) and outcomes (QALYs) were discounted at 5% annually after the first year. Univariate and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were carried out to quantify uncertainty for the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs).

Results: Dasatinib dominated HDI in chronic phase patients with additional QALYs (3.92 vs. 3.47) and a lower lifetime cost ($379,678 vs. $444,934). The ICERs of dasatinib vs. HDI in accelerated and blast phase were $88,098/QALY and $173,922/QALY respectively. The higher cost/QALY of dasatinib in the advanced phases is explained primarily by the increased predicted survival of dasatinib patients and therefore the longer duration of drug therapy for these patients. Parameters with the greatest influence on results were the time horizon, drug costs and utility values. The interpretation of results remained robust in univariate and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.

Conclusion: From an economic perspective dasatinib is an attractive treatment choice for the majority of imatinib resistant CML patients and provides better value for money than HDI.

Author notes

Disclosure:Employment: AJ and CD are employees of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. Consultancy: JS, DZ, MT and AL have acted as consultants for Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. for this project.