Cost-effectiveness of adjuvant chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide + methotrexate + fluorouracil in patients with node-positive breast cancer
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Background: The analysis of published survival curves can be used as the basis for incremental cost-effectiveness analyses in which two treatments are compared with each other in terms of cost per life year saved. In patients with node-positive breast cancer adjuvant chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide + methotrexate + fluorouracil has been reported to improve survival in comparison with patients who are not given this treatment.
To assess the pharmacoeconomic profile of this adjuvant chemotherapeutic regimen in terms of cost per life-year gained, we conducted an incremental cost-effectiveness analysis in which the Gompertz model was used to calculate the lifetime estimate of the patient-years gained by treated subjects compared to controls.
Using data from a published, controlled long-term trial involving 207 patients treated with cyclophosphamide + methotrexate + fluorouracil and 179 controls, we estimated that this adjuvant chemotherapy improved life expectancy by 357 patient-years per 100 subjects. Direct costs, which were almost exclusively related to the administration of chemotherapy, were estimated to be US $159,516 per 100 patients. On the basis of these data, adjuvant chemotherapy was found to imply an incremental cost of US $447 per life-year saved.
The cost-effectiveness ratio of adjuvant chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide + methotrexate + fluorouracil in patients with node-positive breast cancer seems to be particularly favourable in comparison with estimates of cost per life-year saved previously calculated for other types of pharmacological intervention.
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