Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cost Of Treating Colorectal Cancer Can Vary By Thousands Per Patient

Date:
November 7, 2008
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
The cost of treating colorectal cancer varies widely, with newer, life-extending therapies sometimes costing tens of thousands of dollars more than older agents, according to a new study.

The cost of treating colorectal cancer varies widely, with newer, life-extending therapies sometimes costing tens of thousands of dollars more than older agents, according to a study led by a team of researchers in the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"The total cost of chemotherapy to treat colorectal cancer may differ by as much as $36,999 per patient, depending on the regimen," said Gary Lyman, M.D., an oncologist and health outcomes researcher at Duke, and senior investigator on this study. "We know that some therapies are more promising and effective, in general, than others, and cost variation raises many questions about what kind of care patients are receiving and whether this economic burden is matched by significant clinical advancements, especially with regard to quality of life."

The researchers identified the eight most commonly prescribed treatment regimens within a cohort of more than 400 patients who were treated at 115 ambulatory care centers across the United States. Regimens included supportive agents often needed to combat treatment-related side effects such as nausea, and varied from an older chemotherapy cocktail known as 5-FU/ LV (5-fluoroucil and leucovorin calcium), to newer therapies that include the use of bevacizumab, commonly known as Avastin. Bevacizumab was FDA-approved in 2004 for the treatment of colorectal cancer, and works by choking off a tumor's blood supply.

"The cost of treating colorectal cancer has skyrocketed," Lyman said. "We have seen similar trends in terms of rapidly rising costs of drug development in breast cancer and other malignancies, but nowhere has this been more striking than in the management of colorectal cancer."

The introduction of life-extending therapies for colorectal cancer over the past several years, which can in some cases almost double survival time, has led to a 340-fold increase in the cost of chemotherapy, Lyman said. The burden of this increase is felt by insurers, by patients and their families and ultimately, by taxpayers, he said.

"For many of these colorectal cancer patients, depending on how advanced their disease is, we may be talking about buying a few months," he said. "And these rapidly increasing costs have raised ethical questions about whether such sums of money should be dedicated to treatments that may modestly prolong life but not offer increased cure rate."

Lyman said that these findings may suggest that new strategies should be sought to limit the economic impact of these newer treatment regimens, including appealing to drug companies to reassess their pricing policies and relaxing prohibitions on the federal government negotiating drug prices.

There is also concern, Lyman said, that some patients, especially in smaller, rural areas, may have limited access to care or be receiving older, "out-of-date" therapies because of either the patient's or the practice's inability to pay for the newer agents.

"At the same time, it may be prudent for researchers and clinicians to search for improved prognostic and predictive markers that may permit more selective or targeted application of expensive therapies in patients who stand to derive the most clinical benefit from them," he said. "Such strategies may provide not only the most effective but also the most cost-effective use of these new agents for patients with colorectal cancer."

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death and the third most common malignancy in the United States, behind lung and breast cancer. Nearly 150,000 cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States and about 56,000 Americans die of the disease each year.

The findings appeared in the November 2008 issue of the American Journal of Managed Care. Other researchers involved in this study include Debra Wolff, Marek Poniewierski and Eva Culakova of Duke; Alok Khorana of the University of Rochester; and Leon Cosler, Salvatore Ferro and Brian Myer of the Albany College of Pharmacy. The study was funded by the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center's Health Services and Outcomes Program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Cost Of Treating Colorectal Cancer Can Vary By Thousands Per Patient." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081107172110.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2008, November 7). Cost Of Treating Colorectal Cancer Can Vary By Thousands Per Patient. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081107172110.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Cost Of Treating Colorectal Cancer Can Vary By Thousands Per Patient." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081107172110.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins