The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (epoetin and darbepoetin) for treating cancer-treatment induced anaemia (including review of TA142): a systematic review and economic model
Health Technology Assessment
NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme
Background: Anaemia is a common side-effect of cancer treatments and can lead to a reduction in quality of life. Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) are licensed for use in conjunction with red blood cell transfusions (RBCTs) to improve cancer treatment-induced anaemia (CIA). Methods: The clinical effectiveness review followed principles published by NHS CRD. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), or systematic reviews of RCTs, of ESAs (epoetin or darbepoetin) for treating people with CIA were eligible for inclusion in the review. Comparators were best supportive care (BSC), placebo, or other ESA. Anaemia- and malignancy-related outcomes, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and adverse events (AEs) were evaluated. Where appropriate, data were pooled using meta-analysis. An empirical health economic model was developed comparing ESA treatment to no ESA treatment. The model has two components: one evaluating short-term costs and QALYs (while patients are anaemic); and one evaluating long-term QALYs. Costs and benefits were discounted at 3.5% pa. Probabilistic and univariate deterministic sensitivity analyses were performed. Results: Twenty-three studies assessing ESAs within their licensed indication (based on start dose administered) were included. None of the RCTs were completely aligned with current EU licenses. Results suggest that there is clinical benefit from ESAs for anaemia-related outcomes. Data suggest improvement in HRQoL scores. The impact of ESAs on AEs and survival remains highly uncertain; although point estimates are lower confidence intervals are wide and not statistically significant. Base case incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) for ESA treatment versus no ESA treatment ranged from £19,429–£35,018 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained, but sensitivity and scenario analyses demonstrate considerable uncertainty in these ICERs, including the possibility of overall health disbenefit. All ICERs were sensitive to survival and cost. Conclusions: ESAs could be cost-effective when used closer to licence but there is considerable uncertainty mainly due to unknown impacts on overall survival.
HTA - 12/42/01
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