Treatment patterns and cost-effectiveness of first line treatment of advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer in Medicare patients

<p><b>Aim:</b> To assess the cost-effectiveness of first-line pemetrexed/platinum and other commonly administered regimens in a representative US elderly population with advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).</p> <p><b>Materials and methods:</b> This study utilized the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registry linked to Medicare claims records. The study population included all SEER-Medicare patients diagnosed in 2008–2009 with advanced non-squamous NSCLC (stages IIIB–IV) as their only primary cancer and who started chemotherapy within 90 days of diagnosis. The study evaluated the four most commonly observed first-line regimens: paclitaxel/carboplatin, platinum monotherapy, pemetrexed/platinum, and paclitaxel/carboplatin/bevacizumab. Overall survival and total healthcare cost comparisons as well as incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were calculated for pemetrexed/platinum vs each of the other three. Unstratified analyses and analyses stratified by initial disease stage were conducted.</p> <p><b>Results:</b> The final study population consisted of 2,461 patients. Greater administrative censorship of pemetrexed recipients at the end of the study period disproportionately reduced the observed mean survival for pemetrexed/platinum recipients. The disease stage-stratified ICER analysis found that the pemetrexed/platinum incurred total Medicare costs of $536,424 and $283,560 per observed additional year of life relative to platinum monotherapy and paclitaxel/carboplatin, respectively. The pemetrexed/platinum vs triplet comparator analysis indicated that pemetrexed/platinum was associated with considerably lower total Medicare costs, with no appreciable survival difference.</p> <p><b>Limitations:</b> Limitations included differential censorship of the study regimen recipients and differential administration of radiotherapy.</p> <p><b>Conclusions:</b> Pemetrexed/platinum yielded either improved survival at increased cost or similar survival at reduced cost relative to comparator regimens in the treatment of advanced non-squamous NSCLC. Limitations in the study methodology suggest that the observed pemetrexed survival benefit was likely conservative.</p>