From the Journals

Frontline ibrutinib saves money over chemoimmunotherapy



Ibrutinib monotherapy was associated with lower total health care costs compared with chemoimmunotherapy in the frontline treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), according to a retrospective study.

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“This study compared time to next treatment, health care resource utilization, and total direct costs among patients with CLL initiating front-line ibrutinib single agent or chemoimmunotherapy,” wrote Bruno Emond, of Analysis Group, Montreal, and colleagues. Their report is in Clinical Lymphoma, Myeloma & Leukemia.

The researchers retrospectively analyzed data from 1,161 patients with CLL who were started on ibrutinib monotherapy or chemoimmunotherapy from 2014 to 2017. Data were collected from the Optum Clinformatics Extended DataMart De-Identified Databases.

Between the two groups, differences in baseline characteristics were controlled for by way of inverse probability of treatment weighting. Two treatment periods were included in the study: the initial 6 months of treatment and entire duration of frontline therapy.

The team also conducted a subgroup analysis of patients treated with bendamustine and rituximab. This cohort was analyzed independently since the regimen is commonly used in clinical practice.

After analysis, the researchers found that ibrutinib monotherapy was associated with net monthly cost savings of $3,766 (P less than .0001), compared with chemoimmunotherapy and bendamustine/rituximab over the frontline therapy period.

Ibrutinib patients had fewer monthly days with outpatient services (rate ratio, 0.75; 95% confidence interval, 0.60-0.94; P = .0200), compared with those on chemoimmunotherapy; and were less likely to initiate a next line of treatment, compared with chemoimmunotherapy patients (hazard ratio, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.33-0.90; P = .0163).

“Cost savings and reductions in health care resource utilization were even more pronounced when considering only the first 6 months of front-line treatment,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers acknowledged that two key limitations of the study were the potential influence of unobserved confounding factors and the use of claims data, which could include errors and omissions.

“These results suggest that ibrutinib single-agent is associated with lower total costs driven by lower medical costs, despite higher pharmacy costs, compared with chemoimmunotherapy and bendamustine/rituximab,” they concluded.

The authors reported financial affiliations with Janssen Scientific Affairs, which funded the study, and other companies.

SOURCE: Emond B et al. Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. 2019 Aug 26. doi: 10.1016/j.clml.2019.08.004.

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