First-line treatment with nivolumab plus ipilimumab may be cost effective when compared with sunitinib for patients with intermediate- and poor-risk metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC), according to a cost-effectiveness analysis.
“A Markov model was developed to estimate the costs and effectiveness of treatment of mRCC,” XiaoMin Wan, PhD, of the Capital Medical University in Beijing and his colleagues wrote in.
The researchers used data from an economic model that extrapolated findings from a phase 3 randomized study of 1,096 patients with intermediate- and poor-risk mRCC treated with first-line sunitinib or nivolumab plus ipilimumab.
“We assumed that the first-line treatments continued until disease progression or unacceptable toxic effects,” the team wrote.
Several measures were estimated using the model, including quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), lifetime costs, and life-years. The team set a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100,000-$150,000 per QALY. In addition, Dr. Wan and his colleagues completed a sensitivity analysis to investigate how the results changed across different ranges of drug cost.
After analysis, the researchers found that first-line therapy with nivolumab plus ipilimumab was estimated to cost $108,363 per QALY gained. The incremental QALYs added using the combination was 0.96 years versus sunitinib, at the same cost per QALY.
With respect to the sensitivity analysis, the likelihood of the combination being cost effective, compared with sunitinib, was calculated to be 42.5% and 80.2% at the minimum and maximum of the willingness-to-pay threshold, respectively.
“The results of subgroup analyses showed that nivolumab plus ipilimumab was most cost effective for patients with 1% or greater programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression,” they added.
The researchers acknowledged a key limitation of the study was that the analysis used data from only a single randomized trial. Consequently, Dr. Wan and his colleagues reported that any bias contained within that trial will also be present in this analysis.
The study was supported by funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Health and Family Planning Commission of Hunan province. The authors reported no conflicts of interest.
SOURCE: Wan X et al. JAMA Oncol. 2019 Feb 21. .