Cost‑effectiveness Analysis of Cetuximab in Treatment of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer in Iranian Pharmaceutical Market

Majid Davari, Farzaneh Ashrafi, Mohammadreza Maracy, Abolfazl Aslani, Mohammadreza Tabatabaei


Background: Cetuximab is a monoclonal antibody which acts against the epidermal growth‑factor receptor. Randomized controlled trials show that the addition of cetuximab to folinic acid, 5‑flourouracil, irinotecan (FOLFIRI), folinic acid, 5‑flourouracil, oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) and capecitabin + oxaliplatin (CAPOX) regimens, as the first‑line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC), increases the overall survival (OS) and progression‑free survival (PFS) compared to FOLFIRI, FOLFOX and CAPOX regimens alone. The aim of this study was to analyze the cost‑effectiveness of different treatment programs for managing metastatic CRC with and without cetuximab in the first‑line treatment of unresectable metastatic CRC in Iran.
Methods: A systematic search of the literature was performed in PubMed, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination Databases and Cochrane Library to assess the effectiveness of the drug
in the context of PFS, OS and the adverse events. The incremental cost‑effectiveness ratio of each treatment program was calculated. An extensive sensitivity analysis was conducted on the results regarding the effectiveness.
Results: The addition of cetuximab to FOLFIRI, FOLFOX and CAPOX programs increased PFS by 0.1, 0.042 and 0.042 years, respectively. Similarly, the addition of cetuximab to FOLFIRI,
FOLFOX and CAPOX increased OS by 0.325, 0.442 and 0.442 years and also cost $212825, $202484 and $204198 individually. Whereas, based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested threshold for cost‑effectiveness analysis, even FOLFOX + cetuximab was very higher than the threshold in Iran (37.4 times higher).
Conclusions: The FOLFOX regimen + cetuximab provides lower costs per additional life years gained (more cost‑effective) compared with its alternatives in the treatment of patients with
unresectable metastatic CRC. However, according to the WHO indicator, none of the cetuximab regimens could be considered as cost effective for the Iranian health care market.
Keywords: Cetuximab, colorectal cancer, cost‑effectiveness, effectiveness, kristen rat sarcoma

Full Text: