Mounting cancer medical costs are a concern for Canada's public health care system and recent findings by UHN's Dr. Natasha Leighl
, postdoctoral fellow Dr. Raymond Ng, and the National Cancer Institute of Canada's Clinical Trials Group have shown the cost effectiveness of a landmark treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients pioneered at Princess Margaret Hospital.
Economic analysis was conducted on data from 172 patients who were part of the phase III clinical study of the drugs cisplantin plus vinorelbine which is now the standard of care for NSCLC patients and improves absolute 5-year survivals by 15%.
When full treatment costs--including hospitalization, outpatient visits, surgery, chemotherapy, radiology, and palliative treatment--were included, combination therapy was more cost effective per patient and superior to other oncology treatments.
"Compared to the observation group, the combination therapy patients showed improved quality of life under this more economical standard practice of care," says Dr. Leighl. "Phase III clinical trials provide the best opportunity to evaluate costs in relation to the benefits of newly emerging therapies."
J Clin Oncol 25:2256-2261
. [Pubmed abstract] Research was supported by the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital, the University of Toronto, and the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group.