, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 33–42 | Cite as

The Cost Effectiveness of Docetaxel and Active Symptom Control versus Active Symptom Control Alone for Refractory Oesophagogastric Adenocarcinoma: Economic Analysis of the COUGAR-02 Trial

  • David M. MeadsEmail author
  • Andrea Marshall
  • Claire T. Hulme
  • Janet A. Dunn
  • Hugo E. R. Ford
Original Research Article



The COUGAR-02 trial recently showed survival and quality-of-life benefits of docetaxel and active symptom control (DXL + ASC) over active symptom control (ASC) alone in patients with refractory oesophagogastric adenocarcinoma.


The aim of this study was to conduct an economic evaluation conforming to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) technology appraisal guidance to evaluate the cost effectiveness of DXL + ASC versus ASC from the perspective of the English National Health Service (NHS).


Cost-utility analyses were conducted using trial data. Utility values were captured using the EQ-5D completed by patients at 3- and 6-weekly intervals, while resource use was captured using nurse-completed report forms and patient reports. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were calculated and the main outcome was cost per incremental quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). Nonparametric bootstrapping was conducted to capture sampling uncertainty and to generate a cost-effectiveness acceptability curve (CEAC). The analysis horizon was the trial period (median follow-up 12 months) and no modelling or discounting of future costs and benefits was conducted.


Average costs were £9352 and £6218 for DXL + ASC and ASC, respectively, and average QALYs were 0.302 and 0.186, respectively. This yielded an ICER of £27,180 for DXL + ASC. DXL + ASC had a 24 % chance of being cost effective at a £20,000 QALY threshold (lambda) and a mean net monetary benefit of −£821; this rose to 59 % and £332 when the threshold was raised to £30,000. If NICE end-of-life criteria are applied, the probability of cost effectiveness increases to 90 % (at lambda = £50,000). Results were robust to sensitivity analyses.


DXL + ASC is likely to be cost effective if an end-of-life premium is applied. Further research should determine the impact of different utility measurement strategies and different chemotherapy delivery modes on estimates of cost effectiveness.


Docetaxel National Health Service Evidence Review Group Appraisal Committee Electronic Supplementary Table 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The COUGAR-02 trial was an academic, investigator-led study. The trial was sponsored by the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Cambridge, UK), supported by the Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit (CCTU) and funded by Cancer Research UK (grant number C21276/A12372), clinical trial number CRUK/07/013; however, no funding was received for this analysis. Hugo E. R. Ford was part-funded by the National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre. The authors would like to thank Yemi Oluboyede for help in identifying unit costs. We thank all the patients, investigators and their research teams who participated in the COUGAR-02 trial, as well as the COUGAR-02 trial management and coordination teams.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Role of the funding source

No funding was received for this analysis. However, the trial was funded by Cancer Research UK. Neither the funders nor sponsors of the COUGAR-02 trial participated in study design, data accrual or analysis, or in the preparation of this paper. Access to the raw data was available to the health economist (David M. Meads) and statistician (Andrea Marshall). The corresponding author had full access to all of the data and had final responsibility to submit for publication.

Author contributions

David M. Meads conducted the health economic analysis and wrote the manuscript. Hugo E. R. Ford was the chief investigator for the COUGAR-O2 trial. Andrea Marshall, Claire T. Hulme, Janet A. Dunn, and Hugo E. R. Ford had input into the design of the study and the data analysis, and contributed to the writing of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

Hugo E. R. Ford received research funding from Sanofi. David M. Meads, Andrea Marshall, Claire T. Hulme and Janet A. Dunn declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

40273_2015_324_MOESM1_ESM.docx (40 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 36.9 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Meads
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrea Marshall
    • 2
  • Claire T. Hulme
    • 1
  • Janet A. Dunn
    • 2
  • Hugo E. R. Ford
    • 3
  1. 1.Academic Unit of Health Economics, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, School of MedicineUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Warwick Clinical Trials UnitUniversity of WarwickConventryUK
  3. 3.Addenbrooke’s HospitalCambridgeUK

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