Aim: Carboplatin plus paclitaxel is a more costly chemotherapy regimen than cisplatin plus etoposide; however there have been reports of higher efficacy and less toxicity of this regimen. Thus, this study aimed to assess the cost-effectiveness of these two chemotherapy regimens in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods: Using the perspective of Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital, Thailand, direct medical costs, including chemotherapy, drugs, medical service charges, costs of adverse events, concomitant medication and survival time were directly gathered from 65 patients enrolled from August 2005 to November 2008. A one-way sensitivity analysis was performed. An incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was also calculated.
Results: Of these 65 patients, 30 received cisplatin plus etoposide (Arm I) and 35 received carboplatin plus paclitaxel (Arm II). The median survival time was not statistically significant (8.23 months vs 8.80 months in Arm I and II, respectively; P = 0.99). The total cost per patient in Arm II was about three times that in Arm I (95,548 Baht vs 29,692 Baht) while quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) in Arm II were slightly above those in Arm I (0.587 vs 0.412). The ICER was equal to 375,958 Baht per QALY.
Conclusion: With a cost-effectiveness threshold of 100,000 Baht in Thailand, carboplatin plus paclitaxel was still not cost-effective. While the selection of a suitable regimen for individual patients should not rely on drug and hospital costs alone, the overall cost, including the burden on patients, should be taken into consideration.