Background: Nilotinib and dasatinib are now being considered as alternative treatments to imatinib as a first-line treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). Objective: This technology assessment reviews the available evidence for the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of dasatinib, nilotinib and standard-dose imatinib for the first-line treatment of Philadelphia chromosome-positive CML. Data sources: Databases [including MEDLINE (Ovid), EMBASE, Current Controlled Trials, ClinicalTrials.gov, the US Food and Drug Administration website and the European Medicines Agency website] were searched from search end date of the last technology appraisal report on this topic in October 2002 to September 2011. Review methods: A systematic review of clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness studies; a review of surrogate relationships with survival; a review and critique of manufacturer submissions; and a model-based economic analysis. Results: Two clinical trials (dasatinib vs imatinib and nilotinib vs imatinib) were included in the effectiveness review. Survival was not significantly different for dasatinib or nilotinib compared with imatinib with the 24-month follow-up data available. The rates of complete cytogenetic response (CCyR) and major molecular response (MMR) were higher for patients receiving dasatinib than for those with imatinib for 12 months' follow-up (CCyR 83% vs 72%, p < 0.001; MMR 46% vs 28%, p < 0.0001). The rates of CCyR and MMR were higher for patients receiving nilotinib than for those receiving imatinib for 12 months' follow-up (CCyR 80% vs 65%, p < 0.001; MMR 44% vs 22%, p < 0.0001). An indirect comparison analysis showed no difference between dasatinib and nilotinib for CCyR or MMR rates for 12 months' follow-up (CCyR, odds ratio 1.09, 95% CI 0.61 to 1.92; MMR, odds ratio 1.28, 95% CI 0.77 to 2.16). There is observational association evidence from imatinib studies supporting the use of CCyR and MMR at 12 months as surrogates for overall all-cause survival and progression-free survival in patients with CML in chronic phase. In the cost-effectiveness modelling scenario, analyses were provided to reflect the extensive structural uncertainty and different approaches to estimating OS. First-line dasatinib is predicted to provide very poor value for money compared with first-line imatinib, with deterministic incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) of between Â£256,000 and Â£450,000 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). Conversely, first-line nilotinib provided favourable ICERs at the willingness-to-pay threshold of Â£20,000-30,000 per QALY. Limitations Immaturity of empirical trial data relative to life expectancy, forcing either reliance on surrogate relationships or cumulative survival/treatment duration assumptions. Conclusions: From the two trials available, dasatinib and nilotinib have a statistically significant advantage compared with imatinib as measured by MMR or CCyR. Taking into account the treatment pathways for patients with CML, i.e. assuming the use of second-line nilotinib, first-line nilotinib appears to be more cost-effective than first-line imatinib. Dasatinib was not cost-effective if decision thresholds of Â£20,000 per QALY or Â£30,000 per QALY were used, compared with imatinib and nilotinib. Uncertainty in the cost-effectiveness analysis would be substantially reduced with better and more UK-specific data on the incidence and cost of stem cell transplantation in patients with chronic CML. Funding: The Health Technology Assessment Programme of the National Institute for Health Research.