Teittson S, Brodtkorb T-H, Kurt M, Patel M, Poretta T, Knight C, Kamgar F, Palmer S. Challenges, considerations, and approaches for developing a cost-effectiveness model for the adjuvant treatment of muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma: with a spotlight on nivolumab versus placebo. J Med Econ. 2024 Jan;27(1):473-81. doi: 10.1080/13696998.2024.2322394

AIMS: To present challenges and considerations for the development of a decision analytic model for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of adjuvant nivolumab compared with surveillance in patients with high-risk muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma (MIUC) after radical resection.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Alternative approaches related to both structural assumptions and data sources are presented to address challenges and data gaps, as well as discussion of strengths and limitations of each approach. Specifically, challenges and considerations related to the following are presented: (1) selection of a modeling approach (partitioned survival model or state transition model) given the available evidence, (2) choice of health state structure (three- or four-state) to model disease progression and subsequent therapy, (3) modeling of outcomes from subsequent therapy using tunnel states to account for timedependent transition probabilities or absorbing health states with one-off costs and outcomes applied, and (4) methods for modeling health-state transitions in a setting where treatment has curative intent and available survival data are immature.

CONCLUSIONS: Multiple considerations must be taken into account when developing an economic model for new, emerging oncology treatments in early lines of therapy, all of which can affect the model’s overall ability to estimate (quality-adjusted) survival benefits over a lifetime horizon. This paper identifies a series of key structural and analytic considerations regarding modeling of nivolumab treatment in the adjuvant MIUC setting. Several alternative approaches with regard to structure and data have been included in a flexible cost-effectiveness model so the impact of the alternative approaches on model results can be explored. The impact of these alternative approaches on cost-effectiveness results and validation of outcomes predicted by the model will be presented in two companion articles. Our findings may also help inform the development of future models for other treatments and settings in early-stage cancer.

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