Radiation therapy (RT) has been considered the standard of care for front-line management for early-stage follicular lymphoma. Recent data suggests the use of RT is declining with more than half the patients receiving immunochemotherapy (ICT) with or without rituximab maintenance (RM). Cost-effectiveness analysis of these treatments has not been performed.
We constructed a four-state partitioned survival model over a 15-year time horizon to compare RT alone, ICT and ICT+RM. The model was based on a real-world cohort of early-stage FL patients, staged using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography,from the Australasian Lymphoma Alliance. Lifetime direct health care costs, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were calculated from an Australian tax-payer perspective. A pre-specified value of AUD $75,000 was defined as the willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold reflecting recent approvals for therapeutics for indolent lymphoproliferative diseases in Australia.
Assuming 5% annual discounting the direct healthcare costs were: RT $14,480, ICT $22,171, ICT+RM $42,830 (Table 1). Compared with RT, ICT demonstrated an improvement in QALYs (+0.17) and an ICER of $44,879. Compared with RT, ICT+RM demonstrated a larger improvement in QALYs (+0.53) with an ICER of $53,062. Modelling a 25% cost reduction with a rituximab biosimilar led to further ICER reductions: ICT ($29,078); ICT+RM ($37,810).
Although the initial healthcare-associated costs were higher than RT, over a 15-year horizon ICT and ICT+RM are cost-effective treatments in early stage FL from the Australian tax-payer perspective. Although the costs may differ internationally, the results remain broadly generalisable given the costs incurred related to time in the failure-free state.
Table 1:Comparison of healthcare costs, quality-adjusted life-years and cost-effectiveness between front-line therapies in early stage FL
Tobin:Gilead: Research Funding. Gandhi:Gilead Sciences: Honoraria; Mater Research: Current Employment; Janssen-Cilag: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Roche: Other: Travel, accommodation, expenses ; Genentech: Honoraria; Amgen: Honoraria; Merck Sharp & Dohme: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding. Mollee:Amgen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Takeda: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Pfizer: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Caelum: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Janssen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; BMS/Celgene: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.