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Study evaluates costs and benefits associated with new colon cancer therapies

Date:
March 16, 2010
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
New chemotherapy agents appear associated with improvements in survival time for patients with metastastic colorectal cancer, but at substantial cost, according to a report.

New chemotherapy agents appear associated with improvements in survival time for patients with metastastic colorectal cancer, but at substantial cost, according to a report in the March 22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

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David H. Howard, Ph.D., and colleagues at Emory University, Atlanta, used a cancer registry database to measure trends in life expectancy and lifetime medical costs in 4,665 patients age 66 and older diagnosed with metastastic colon cancer between 1995 and 2005. Patients were classified according to whether they received one or more of the six chemotherapeutic agents approved for the treatment of metastastic colon cancer between 1996 to 2004.

Among those who received the new agents, life expectancy increased by 6.8 months and lifetime costs increased by $37,100, equating to a cost of $66,200 per year of life gained. After additional adjustments, the cost for each quality-adjusted life year (a year of life in perfect health) gained was $99,100, the authors note.

"New chemotherapeutic agents for colorectal cancer have been singled out as examples of high-cost/low-value medical care; no doubt they are the types of therapies that would receive close scrutiny if Medicare and other payers were to consider cost-effectiveness in coverage decisions," they write. "Our estimate of the cost per quality-adjusted life year gained, $100,000, is below most estimates of the willingness to pay for a life-year. However, continuation of Medicare's open-ended coverage policy for new chemotherapeutic agents and other expensive technologies will prove difficult to sustain as costs for the program continue to rise."


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The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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JAMA and Archives Journals. "Study evaluates costs and benefits associated with new colon cancer therapies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316101600.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2010, March 16). Study evaluates costs and benefits associated with new colon cancer therapies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316101600.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Study evaluates costs and benefits associated with new colon cancer therapies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316101600.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

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