Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related death and economic burden worldwide. Despite the heavy toll of lung cancer, multiple new advances have improved patient outcomes, largely through precision medicine and targeted therapy. The associated rising economic burden however may impact the uptake of novel therapeutic agents in lung cancer, thereby limiting patient access. This article identifies and reviews economic evaluations of targeted agents in lung cancer in the era of precision medicine. Articles evaluating biomarker-directed test-and-treat strategies are also reviewed to evaluate the cost impact of novel therapeutic agents at a population level. The Quality of Health Economic Studies instrument is applied to assess the quality of included studies. Forty-six studies are reviewed and encompass studies of epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies, anaplastic lymphoma kinase inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor inhibitors and immunotherapy (programmed death-1 inhibitors). Key factors influencing results of economic analyses include comparators chosen, perspective used, magnitude of clinical benefit, utility weighting of outcomes and drug acquisition costs. Biomarker-driven decision making should be integrated into cost evaluations given the important role of molecular testing for individualising treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer. We conclude that despite major clinical advances in lung cancer therapeutics, cost remains an important consideration in the adoption of novel therapies.
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Conflict of interest
Hamzeh Albaba and Charles Lim declare no known conflicts of interest. Natasha B. Leighl reports institutional research funding (University Health Network) for an unrelated clinical trial from Novartis, consulting fees from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, and honoraria for continuing medical education lectures from Astra Zeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck Sharp & Dohme and Pfizer.
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Albaba, H., Lim, C. & Leighl, N.B. Economic Considerations in the Use of Novel Targeted Therapies for Lung Cancer: Review of Current Literature. PharmacoEconomics 35, 1195–1209 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40273-017-0563-8