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Cost-effectiveness of pentostatin compared with cladribine in the management of hairy cell leukemia in the United Kingdom.

Author: JF Guest, H Smith, E Sladkevicius & G Jackson.
Source: Clinical Therapeutics 2009; 31(2): 2398-2415.

ABSTRACT

Objective: This article assesses the cost-effectiveness of pentostatin compared with cladribine in the management of hairy cell leukemia (HCL) in the United Kingdom.

Methods: A systematic literature search for papers on HCL was performed using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Current Contents, NHS Economic Evaluation Database, and the Cochrane computerized database. Search terms were HCL plus 1 of the following: incidence, prevalence, epidemiology, cladribine, interferon, pentostatin, rituximab, splenectomy, utility, quality of life, cost-effectiveness, cost-utility, resource utilization, economic, and cost. Published clinical outcomes and estimates of health care resource use obtained from 10 consultant hematologists across the United Kingdom were used to construct a 5-year Markov model depicting the current management of HCL in the United Kingdom. Utilities for health states in the model were obtained from the general public using standard gamble, time tradeoff, and visual analog scale techniques. The model was used to consider the decision by a clinician to initially treat an HCL patient with either pentostatin or cladribine and to estimate the relative cost-effectiveness of pentostatin over 5 years (at 2007/2008 prices) from the perspective of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

Results: According to the model, 64% of all pentostatin-treated patients are expected to be in relapse-free remission at 5 years compared with 49% of cladribine-treated patients (P = 0.04). Repeat treatment of initial partial responders, non-responders and those who relapse, during the 5 years is expected to result in complete remission in 92% of pentostatin-treated patients and 90% of cladribine-treated patients at 5 years. Using pentostatin instead of cladribine is expected to lead to a minimal cost increase (from £21,325 to £21,608) and an improvement in health gain (from 3.64 to 3.77 quality-adjusted life years [QALYs]) over 5 years. Hence, the cost per QALY gained from using pentostatin is expected to be <£5000. Moreover, pentostatin has a 0.90 probability of being cost-effective for a threshold of £20,000 per QALY. Accordingly, using pentostatin as a first-line treatment for patients with HCL is an effective use of NHS resources.

Conclusion: Based on current practice, the model predicts that pentostatin is a cost-effective treatment compared with cladribine in the management of HCL from the perspective of the UK’s NHS.


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