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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Economic implications of hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy in treatment of nonresectable colorectal liver metastases. Meta-Analysis Group in Cancer.

BACKGROUND: Approximately 20% of patients with colorectal cancer die of metastases confined to the liver. A meta-analysis recently performed by our group confirmed that in these patients hepatic arterial infusion of 5-fluoro-2'-deoxyuridine, compared with intravenous chemotherapy with fluoropyrimidines or supportive care (including symptom palliation when necessary), improved tumor response. PURPOSE: Because of the high cost of hepatic arterial infusion, we undertook a cost-effectiveness analysis that related the cost of such therapy to its medical efficacy. METHODS: The patient population was drawn from the seven randomized clinical trials included in the meta-analysis and included individual data on 654 patients. Of these seven trials, five compared hepatic arterial infusion and intravenous chemotherapy and two compared hepatic arterial infusion and a control group in which some patients could be left untreated. Patients assigned to receive hepatic arterial infusion made up the hepatic arterial infusion group; the other patients constituted the control group. The measures of efficacy were survival and tumor response. Health-care costs (in 1995 U.S. dollars) were computed over the duration of patient follow-up and were derived from actual costs in two centers, one at Henri Mondor Hospital (Paris, France) and the other at Stanford University Medical Center (Palo Alto, CA). The total cost of treatment included the initial procedure, chemotherapy cycles, and main complications. RESULTS: The mean gain in life expectancy in the hepatic arterial infusion group compared with the control group was 3.2 months (standard error = 1.0 month). For patients treated by hepatic arterial infusion in Paris, the hepatic arterial infusion pump, initial hospitalization, and the entire process (including follow-up and complications) cost, on average, $8400, $15172, and $29562, respectively; in Palo Alto, these costs were $4700, $13784, and $25 208, respectively. For patients in the control groups in Paris and Palo Alto, the total treatment costs were, on average, $9926 and $5928. The additional costs of hepatic arterial infusion over control treatment were $19636 in Paris and $19280 in Palo Alto. The cost-effectiveness (i.e., the additional cost divided by the additional benefit) with respect to survival of the patients in the hepatic arterial infusion group compared with the patients in the control group was $73635 per life-year in Paris and $72300 per life-year in Palo Alto. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: The cost-effectiveness of localized chemotherapy for colorectal liver metastases is within the range of accepted treatments for serious medical conditions, although it might be considered borderline by policy-makers in some countries. Prospective clinical trials should be conducted to more definitively answer this question.[1]


  1. Economic implications of hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy in treatment of nonresectable colorectal liver metastases. Meta-Analysis Group in Cancer. Durand-Zaleski, I., Roche, B., Buyse, M., Carlson, R., O'Connell, M.J., Rougier, P., Chang, A.E., Sondak, V.K., Kemeny, M.M., Allen-Mersh, T.G., Fagniez, P.L., Le Bourgeois, J.P., Piedbois, P. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. (1997) [Pubmed]
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