Cost-effectiveness of adjuvant systemic therapies for patients with high-risk melanoma in Europe: a model-based economic evaluation

E. E.A.P. Mulder*, L. Smit, D. J. Grünhagen, C. Verhoef, S. Sleijfer, A. A.M. van der Veldt, C. A. Uyl-de Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: The introduction of adjuvant systemic treatment has significantly improved recurrence-free survival in patients with resectable high-risk melanoma. Adjuvant treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors and targeted therapy, however, substantially impacts health care budgets, while the number of patients with melanoma who are treated in the adjuvant setting is still increasing. To evaluate the socioeconomic impact of the three adjuvant treatments, a cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) was carried out. Materials and methods: Data were obtained from the three pivotal registration phase III clinical trials on the adjuvant treatment of patients with resected high-risk stage III in melanoma (KEYNOTE-054, CheckMate 238, and COMBI-AD). For this CEA, a Markov model with three health states (no evidence of disease, recurrent/progressive disease, and death) was applied. From a societal perspective, different adjuvant strategies were compared according to total costs, life years (LYs), quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. To evaluate model uncertainty, sensitivity analyses (deterministic and probabilistic) were carried out. Results: In the adjuvant setting, total costs (per patient) were €168 826 for nivolumab, €194 529 for pembrolizumab, and €211 110 for dabrafenib-trametinib. These costs were mainly determined by drug acquisition costs, whereas routine surveillance costs varied from €126 096 to €134 945. Compared with routine surveillance, LYs improved by approximately 1.41 for all therapies and QALYs improved by 2.02 for immune checkpoint inhibitors and 2.03 for targeted therapy. This resulted in incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of €21 153 (nivolumab), €33 878 (pembrolizumab), and €37 520 (dabrafenib-trametinib) per QALY gained. Conclusions: This CEA compared the three EMA-approved adjuvant systemic therapies for resected stage III melanoma. Adjuvant treatment with nivolumab was the most cost-effective, followed by pembrolizumab. Combination therapy with dabrafenib-trametinib was the least cost-effective. With the increasing number of patients with high-risk melanoma who will be treated with adjuvant treatment, there is an urgent need to reduce drug costs while developing better prognostic and predictive tools to identify patients who will benefit from adjuvant treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100303
JournalESMO Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


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