Smith T, Hillner B, Neighbors DM, McSorley P, LeChevalier T. An economic evaluation of a randomized clinical trial comparing vinorelbine, vinorelbine plus cisplatin, and vindesine plus cisplatin for non-small cell lung cancer. J Clin Oncol. 1995;13(9):2166-73. doi: 10.1200/JCO.1995.13.9.2166.

PURPOSE: To estimate the comparative cost-effectiveness of three regimens for metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

METHODS: Results from a randomized clinical trial of 612 European patients with NSCLC, and cost data from an academic cancer center, the Medical College of Virginia, were analyzed. In this post-hoc economic analysis, we compared vinorelbine alone, vinorelbine plus cisplatin, and a common regimen of vindesine plus cisplatin.

RESULTS: Vinorelbine plus cisplatin resulted in the longest mean survival time of the three regimens, 49.6 weeks, followed by vindesine plus cisplatin, 44.3 weeks, and vinorelbine, 41.6 weeks. Compared with vinorelbine alone, vinorelbine plus cisplatin added 56 days at a cost of $2,700, resulting in a cost-effectiveness ratio of $17,700 per year of life gained. Similarly, vindesine plus cisplatin added 19 days at a cost of $1,150, or $22,100 per year of life gained. Compared with vindesine plus cisplatin, vinorelbine plus cisplatin added 37 days at a cost of $1,570, or $15,500 per year of life gained.

CONCLUSION: The most effective regimen of vinorelbine plus cisplatin added substantial benefit compared with vinorelbine alone or another common treatment, vindesine plus cisplatin, at a cost-effectiveness within accepted limits for medical interventions. Vindesine plus cisplatin also added benefit at an acceptable cost per year of life gained. If vinorelbine is preferred because of its toxicity profile, the additional effectiveness of cisplatin added substantial benefit at an acceptable cost. Compared with other common medical interventions, chemotherapy for NSCLC has acceptable efficacy and cost-effectiveness and should not be arbitrarily denied based on clinical or economic grounds.

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