, Volume 35, Issue 12, pp 1223–1236 | Cite as

Treatments for Metastatic Prostate Cancer (mPC): A Review of Costing Evidence

  • Jan NorumEmail author
  • Carsten Nieder
Review Article



Prostate cancer (PC) is the most common cancer in Western countries. More than one third of PC patients develop metastatic disease, and the 5-year expected survival in distant disease is about 35%. During the last few years, new treatments have been launched for metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).


We aimed to review the current literature on health economic analysis on the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer (mPC), compare the studies, summarize the findings and make the results available to administrators and decision makers.


A systematic literature search was done for economic evaluations (cost-minimization, cost-effectiveness, cost-utility, cost-of-illness, cost-of-drug, and cost-benefit analyses). We employed the PubMed® search engine and searched for publications published between 2012 and 2016. The terms used were “prostate cancer”, “metastatic” and “cost”. An initial screening of all headlines was performed, selected abstracts were analysed, and finally the full papers investigated. Study characteristics, treatment and comparator, country, type of evaluation, perspective, year of value, time horizon, efficacy data, discount rate, total costs and sensitivity analysis were analysed. The quality was assessed using the Quality of Health Economic Studies (QHES) instrument.


A total of 227 publications were detected and screened, 58 selected for full-text assessment and 31 included in the final analyses. Despite the significant international literature on the treatment of mCRPC, there were only 15 studies focusing on cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA). Medical treatment constituted two thirds of the selected studies. Significant costs in the treatment of mCRPC were disclosed. In the pre-docetaxel setting, both abiraterone acetate (AA) and enzalutamide were concluded beyond accepted cost/quality-adjusted life year limits. In the docetaxel refractory setting, most studies concluded that enzalutamide was cost-effective and superior to AA. In most studies, cabazitaxel was not recommended, because of high cost. Looking at bone-targeting drugs, generic zoledronic acid (ZA) was recommended. External beam radiotherapy (EBRT) was analysed in three studies, and single fraction radiotherapy was concluded to be cost saving. Radium-223 was documented as beneficial, but costly. The quality of the studies was generally good, but sensitivity analyses, discounting and the measurement of health outcomes were present in less than two thirds of the selected studies.


The treatment of mCRPC was associated with significant cost. In the post-docetaxel setting, single fraction radiotherapy and enzalutamide were considered cost-effective in most studies. Generic ZA was the recommended bone-targeting therapy.



The authors acknowledge the service offered by the library at the Faculty of Health Science at the UiT—The Arctic University of Norway, which made all articles available to the researchers. We are also grateful to the librarian at the Nordland Hospital Bodø.

Author Contributions

The editor of PharmacoEconomics suggested the review. Both authors developed the idea. JN did the search employing the PubMed® search engine and screened all articles and performed all full-text analyses. The writing process was done by CN and JN.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Jan Norum and Carsten Nieder declare they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this article.

Supplementary material

40273_2017_555_MOESM1_ESM.docx (100 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 100 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryFinnmark Hospital TrustHammerfestNorway
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health ScienceUiT-The Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway
  3. 3.Department of Oncology and Palliative MedicineNordland HospitalBodøNorway

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