Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 158, Issue 1, pp 51–57 | Cite as

Palbociclib as a first-line treatment in oestrogen receptor-positive, HER2-negative, advanced breast cancer not cost-effective with current pricing: a health economic analysis of the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK)

  • K. Matter-WalstraEmail author
  • T. Ruhstaller
  • D. Klingbiel
  • M. Schwenkglenks
  • K. J. Dedes
Clinical trial


Endocrine therapy continues to be the optimal systemic treatment for metastatic ER+HER2 breast cancer. The CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib combined with letrozole has recently been shown to significantly improve progression-free survival. Here we examined the cost-effectiveness of this regimen for the Swiss healthcare system. A Markov cohort simulation based on the PALOMA-1 trial (Finn et al. in Lancet Oncol 16:25–35, 2015) was used as the clinical course. Input parameters were based on summary trial data. Costs were assessed from the Swiss healthcare system perspective. Adding palbociclib to letrozole (PALLET) compared to letrozole monotherapy was estimated to cost an additional CHF342,440 and gain 1.14 quality-adjusted life years, resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of CHF301,227/QALY gained. In univariate sensitivity analyses, no tested variation in key parameters resulted in an ICER below a willingness-to-pay threshold of CHF100,000/QALY. PALLET had a 0 % probability of being cost-effective in probabilistic sensitivity analyses. Lowering PALLET’s price by 75 % resulted in an ICER of CHF73,995/QALY and a 73 % probability of being cost-effective. At current prices, PALLET would cost the Swiss healthcare system an additional CHF155 million/year. Palbociclib plus letrozole cannot be considered cost-effective for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer in the Swiss healthcare system.


Cost-effectiveness analysis Letrozole Palbociclib Metastatic breast cancer 



We thank the SAKK Coordinating Centre and Nextgenediting for reviewing our manuscript.


The Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) supported this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declared no potential conflicts of interest related to palbociclib or other drugs mentioned in this article.

Supplementary material

10549_2016_3822_MOESM1_ESM.docx (70 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 69 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Matter-Walstra
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • T. Ruhstaller
    • 2
    • 3
  • D. Klingbiel
    • 2
  • M. Schwenkglenks
    • 1
  • K. J. Dedes
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Pharmaceutical Medicine (ECPM)University BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Swiss Group of Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK) Coordinating CentreBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Breast CentreKantonsspital St. GallenSt.GallenSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of GynaecologyUniversity Hospital ZürichZurichSwitzerland

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