BACKGROUND: The IFCT-GFPC 0502 phase III study reported prolongation of progression-free survival with gemcitabine or erlotinib maintenance vs. observation after cisplatin-gemcitabine induction chemotherapy for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This analysis was undertaken to assess the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of these strategies for the global population and pre-specified subgroups.
METHODS: A cost-utility analysis evaluated the ICER of gemcitabine or erlotinib maintenance therapy vs. observation, from randomization until the end of follow-up. Direct medical costs (including drugs, hospitalization, follow-up examinations, second-line treatments and palliative care) were prospectively collected per patient during the trial, until death, from the primary health-insurance provider's perspective. Utility data were extracted from literature. Sensitivity analyses were conducted.
RESULTS: The ICERs for gemcitabine or erlotinib maintenance therapy were respectively 76,625 and 184,733 euros per quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Gemcitabine continuation maintenance therapy had a favourable ICER in patients with PS = 0 (52,213 €/QALY), in responders to induction chemotherapy (64,296 €/QALY), regardless of histology (adenocarcinoma, 62,292 €/QALY, non adenocarcinoma, 83,291 €/QALY). Erlotinib maintenance showed a favourable ICER in patients with PS = 0 (94,908 €/QALY), in patients with adenocarcinoma (97,160 €/QALY) and in patient with objective response to induction (101,186 €/QALY), but it is not cost-effective in patients with PS =1, in patients with non-adenocarcinoma or with stable disease after induction chemotherapy.
CONCLUSION: Gemcitabine- or erlotinib-maintenance therapy had ICERs that varied as a function of histology, PS and response to first-line chemotherapy.