Second-Line Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy in Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Amar H. Kelkar*, Edward R.Scheffer Cliff, Caron A. Jacobson, Gregory A. Abel, Stijntje W. Dijk, Eline M. Krijkamp, Robert Redd, Joanna C. Zurko, Mehdi Hamadani, M. G.Myriam Hunink, Corey Cutler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: First-line treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) achieves durable remission in approximately 60% of patients. In relapsed or refractory disease, only about 20% achieve durable remission with salvage chemoimmunotherapy and consolidative autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). The ZUMA-7 (axicabtagene ciloleucel [axi-cel]) and TRANSFORM (lisocabtagene maraleucel [liso-cel]) trials demonstrated superior event-free survival (and, in ZUMA-7, overall survival) in primary-refractory or early-relapsed (high-risk) DLBCL with chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CAR-T) compared with salvage chemoimmunotherapy and consolidative ASCT; however, list prices for CAR-T exceed $400000 per infusion. Objective: To determine the cost-effectiveness of second-line CAR-T versus salvage chemoimmunotherapy and consolidative ASCT. Design: State-transition microsimulation model. Data Sources: ZUMA-7, TRANSFORM, other trials, and observational data. Target Population: “High-risk” patients with DLBCL. Time Horizon: Lifetime. Perspective: Health care sector. Intervention: Axi-cel or liso-cel versus ASCT. Outcome Measures: Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) and incremental net monetary benefit (iNMB) in 2022 U.S. dollars per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) for a willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold of $200 000 per QALY. Results of Base-Case Analysis: The increase in median overall survival was 4 months for axi-cel and 1 month for liso-cel. For axi-cel, the ICER was $684 225 per QALY and the iNMB was -$107 642. For liso-cel, the ICER was $1 171 909 per QALY and the iNMB was -$102 477. Results of Sensitivity Analysis: To be cost-effective with a WTP of $200 000, the cost of CAR-T would have to be reduced to $321 123 for axi-cel and $313 730 for liso-cel. Implementation in high-risk patients would increase U.S. health care spending by approximately $6.8 billion over a 5-year period. Limitation: Differences in preinfusion bridging therapies precluded cross-trial comparisons. Conclusion: Neither second-line axi-cel nor liso-cel was cost-effective at a WTP of $200 000 per QALY. Clinical outcomes improved incrementally, but costs of CAR-T must be lowered substantially to enable cost-effectiveness. Primary Funding Source: No research-specific funding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1625-1637
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2023

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