To examine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of intravenous formulations of topotecan monotherapy, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin hydorocholoride (PLDH) monotherapy and paclitaxel used alone or in combination with a platinum-based compound for the second-line or subsequent treatment of advanced ovarian cancer.
Electronic databases covering publication years 2000-4. Company submissions.
Seventeen databases were searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews for the clinical effectiveness of PLDH, topotecan and paclitaxel and economic evaluations of the cost-effectiveness of PLDH, topotecan and paclitaxel. Selected studies were quality assessed and data extracted, as were the three company submissions. A new model was developed to assess the costs of the alternative treatments, the differential mean survival duration and the impact of health-related quality of life. Monte-Carlo simulation was used to reflect uncertainty in the cost-effectiveness results.
Nine RCTs were identified. In five of these trials, both the comparators were used within their licensed indications. Of these five, three included participants with both platinum-resistant and platinum-sensitive advanced ovarian cancer, and a further two only included participants with platinum-sensitive disease. The comparators that were assessed in the three trials that included both subtypes of participants were PLDH versus topotecan, topotecan versus paclitaxel and PLDH versus paclitaxel. In the further two trials that included participants with the subtype of platinum-sensitive disease, the comparators that were assessed were single-agent paclitaxel versus a combination of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and cisplatin (CAP) and paclitaxel plus platinum-based chemotherapy versus conventional platinum-based therapy alone. A further four trials were identified and included in the review in which one of the comparators in the trial was used outside its licensed indication. The comparators assessed in these trials were oxaliplatin versus paclitaxel, paclitaxel given weekly versus every 3 weeks, paclitaxel at two different dose levels and oral versus intravenous topotecan. Four studies met the inclusion criteria for the cost-effectiveness review. The review of the economic evidence from the literature and industry submissions identified a number of significant limitations in existing studies assessing the cost-effectiveness of PLDH, topotecan and paclitaxel. Analysis 1 assessed the cost-effectiveness of PLDH, topotecan and paclitaxel administered as monotherapies. Sensitivity analysis was undertaken to explore the impact of patient heterogeneity (e.g. platinum-sensitive and platinum-resistant/refractory patients), the inclusion of additional trial data and alternative assumptions regarding treatment and monitoring costs. In the base-case results for Analysis 1, paclitaxel monotherapy emerged as the cheapest treatment. When the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were estimated, topotecan was dominated by PLDH. Hence the options considered in the estimation of the ICERs were paclitaxel and PLDH. The ICER for PLDH compared with paclitaxel was pound 7033 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) in the overall patient population (comprising platinum-sensitive, -refractory and -resistant patients). The ICER was more favourable in the platinum-sensitive group ( pound 5777 per QALY) and less favourable in the platinum-refractory/resistant group ( pound 9555 per QALY). The cost-effectiveness results for the base-case analysis were sensitive to the inclusion of additional trial data. Incorporating the results of the additional trial data resulted in less favourable estimates for the ICER for PLDH versus paclitaxel compared with the base-case results. The ICER of PLDH compared with paclitaxel was pound 20,620 per QALY in the overall patient population, pound 16,183 per QALY in the platinum-sensitive population and pound 26,867 per QALY in the platinum-resistant and -refractory population. The results from Analysis 2 explored the cost-effectiveness of the full range of treatment comparators for platinum-sensitive patients. The treatment options considered in this model comprised PLDH, topotecan, paclitaxel-monotherapy, CAP, paclitaxel/platinum combination therapy and platinum monotherapy. Owing to the less robust approaches that were employed to synthesise the available evidence and the heterogeneity between the different trials, the reliability of these results should be interpreted with some caution. Topotecan, paclitaxel monotherapy and PLDH were all dominated by platinum monotherapy (i.e. higher costs and lower QALYs). After excluding these alternatives, the treatments that remained under consideration were platinum monotherapy, CAP and paclitaxel-platinum combination therapy. Of these three alternatives, platinum monotherapy was the least costly and least effective. The ICER for CAP compared with platinum monotherapy was pound 16,421 per QALY. The ICER for paclitaxel-platinum combination therapy compared with CAP was pound 20,950 per QALY.
For participants with platinum-resistant disease there was a low probability of response to treatment with PLDH, topotecan or paclitaxel. Furthermore, there was little difference between the three comparators in relation to overall survival. The comparators did, however, differ considerably in their toxicity profiles. Given the low survival times and response rates, it appears that the maintenance of quality of life and the control of symptoms and toxicity are paramount in this patient group. As the three comparators differed significantly in terms of their toxicity profiles, patient and physician choice is also an important element that should be addressed when decisions are made regarding second-line therapy. It can also be suggested that this group of patients may benefit from being included in further clinical trials of new drugs. For participants with platinum-sensitive disease there was a considerable range of median survival times observed across the trials. The most favourable survival times and response rates were observed for paclitaxel and platinum combination therapy. This suggests that treatment with combination therapy may be more beneficial than treatment with a single-agent chemotherapeutic regimen. In terms of single-agent compounds, the evidence suggests that PLDH is more effective than topotecan. Evidence from a further trial that compared PLDH and paclitaxel suggests that there is no significant difference between these two comparators in this trial. The three comparators did, however, differ significantly in terms of their toxicity profiles across the trials. Although treatment with PLDH may therefore be more beneficial than that with topotecan, patient and physician choice as to the potential toxicities associated with each of the comparators and the patient's ability and willingness to tolerate these are of importance. Assuming the NHS is willing to pay up to pound 20,000-40,000 per additional QALY, PLDH appears to be cost-effective compared with topotecan and paclitaxel monotherapy, in terms of the overall patient population and the main subgroups considered. The cost-effectiveness results for the base-case analysis were sensitive to the inclusion of additional trial data. Incorporating the results of additional trial data gave less favourable estimates for the ICER for PLDH versus paclitaxel monotherapy, compared with the base-case results. Although the ICER of PLDH compared with paclitaxel monotherapy was less favourable, PLDH was still cost-effective compared with topotecan and paclitaxel monotherapy. For platinum-sensitive patients, the combination of paclitaxel and platinum appears to be cost-effective. On the strength of the evidence reviewed here, it can be suggested that participants with platinum-resistant disease may benefit from being included in further clinical trials of new drugs. To assess the effectiveness of combination therapy against a single-agent non-platinum-based compound, it can be suggested that a trial that compared paclitaxel in combination with a platinum-based therapy versus single-agent PLDH would be a reasonable option.