Takeda, A.L., Jones, J., Loveman, Emma, Tan, S.C. and Clegg, A.J.
The clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of gemcitabine for metastatic breast cancer: a systematic review and economic evaluation
Health Technology Assessment, 11, (19), . (doi:10.3310/hta11190). (PMID:17462169).
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The review of clinical effectiveness is based on data from a single RCT that has not yet been fully published. While only tentative conclusions can be drawn from this, the evidence may indicate that treatment with gemcitabine and paclitaxel confers an improved outcome for patients in terms of survival and disease progression, but at the cost of increased toxicity. An economic model developed for this review reflects high costs per QALY for this treatment combination. The base-case analysis shows high ICERs, with costs per QALY gained close to 60,000 pounds. Adopting a more realistic treatment protocol, with chemotherapy limited to a maximum of six cycles, gives a more favourable cost-effectiveness estimate. However, this was still higher than would usually be considered to be a cost-effective treatment from the NHS's perspective. Future research recommendations include an update of this review in 12-18 months' time, by which time the included RCT should be fully published. It would also be useful to compare gemcitabine with currently used treatments for metastatic breast cancer, including capecitabine and vinorelbine.
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