Objective: To compare clinical and economic study data for docetaxel, paclitaxel and vinorelbine in the treatment of anthracycline-resistant advanced breast cancer.
Study design and methods: A Markov decision-analysis model to simulate the clinical course of a ‘typical’ patient with advanced breast cancer during salvage chemotherapy was updated with response rates and adverse effect rates from phase III clinical trial data for docetaxel, paclitaxel and vinorelbine. Costs were taken from UK national databases and hospitals. Utilities were estimated from 30 oncology nurses in the UK using the standard gamble method.
Perspective: National Health Service.
Results: When compared with other chemotherapeutic agents, docetaxel has been shown to increase response rate, time to progression and survival in patients with advanced breast cancer. In the base-case analysis, the incremental cost-utility ratio for docetaxel versus paclitaxel was £1995 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained (1998 values). The incremental cost-utility ratio for docetaxel versus vinorelbine was £14 055 per QALY gained. In the comparison with vinorelbine, docetaxel provided the equivalent of an additional 92 days of perfect health. Sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of the model and the validity of the base-case analysis results. Even in the worst case scenarios, docetaxel remained cost effective compared with paclitaxel and vinorelbine.
Conclusions: These findings support the use of the taxoids, notably docetaxel, in the management of advanced breast cancer.
Model development supported by a grant from Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, now Aventis.
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