BACKGROUND: A large proportion of elderly patients (>70 years) with newly diagnosed NSCLC are shown to be frail by a comprehensive geriatric assessment. This population is more vulnerable to adverse effects of chemotherapy and might thus benefit more from targeted therapy. The objective of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of erlotinib followed by chemotherapy after progression, compared with the reverse strategy, in frail elderly patients with advanced NSCLC participating in a prospective randomized phase II trial (GFPC 0505).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Outcomes (progression-free survival and overall survival) and costs (limited to direct medical costs, from the third-party payer perspective) were collected prospectively until second progression. Costs after progression and health utilities (based on disease states and grade 3-4 toxicities) were derived from the literature.
RESULTS: Median overall survival, QALYs, and total costs for the erlotinib-first strategy were 3.9 months, 0.33, and €15,233, respectively, compared with 4.4 months, 0.35, and €15,363 for the chemotherapy-first strategy. There was no significant difference between the 2 strategies in term of cost-effectiveness (respectively €47,381 and €44,350 per QALY).
CONCLUSION: No difference in cost-effectiveness was found between an erlotinib-first strategy and a chemotherapy-first strategy in frail elderly patients with NSCLC.