The clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of cetuximab (review of technology appraisal no. 176) and panitumumab (partial review of technology appraisal no. 240) for previously untreated metastatic colorectal cancer: a systematic review and economic evaluation

Nicola Huxley, Louise Crathorne, Jo Varley-Campbell, Irina Tikhonova, Tristan Snowsill, Simon Briscoe, Jaime Peters, Mary Bond , Mark Napier, Martin Hoyle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Colorectal cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK after breast, lung and prostate cancer. People with metastatic disease who are sufficiently fit are usually treated with active chemotherapy as first- or second-line therapy. Targeted agents are available, including the antiepidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) agents cetuximab (Erbitux®, Merck Serono UK Ltd, Feltham, UK) and panitumumab (Vecitibix®, Amgen UK Ltd, Cambridge, UK).

Objective: To investigate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of panitumumab in combination with chemotherapy and cetuximab in combination with chemotherapy for rat sarcoma (RAS) wild-type (WT) patients for the first-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.

Data sources: The assessment included a systematic review of clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness studies, a review and critique of manufacturer submissions, and a de novo cohort-based economic analysis. For the assessment of effectiveness, a literature search was conducted up to 27 April 2015 in a range of electronic databases, including MEDLINE, EMBASE and The Cochrane Library.

Review methods: Studies were included if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or systematic reviews of RCTs of cetuximab or panitumumab in participants with previously untreated metastatic colorectal cancer with RAS WT status. All steps in the review were performed by one reviewer and checked independently by a second. Narrative synthesis and network meta-analyses (NMAs) were conducted for outcomes of interest. An economic model was developed focusing on first-line treatment and using a 30-year time horizon to capture costs and benefits. Costs and benefits were discounted at 3.5% per annum. Scenario analyses and probabilistic and univariate deterministic sensitivity analyses were performed.

Results: The searches identified 2811 titles and abstracts, of which five clinical trials were included. Additional data from these trials were provided by the manufacturers. No data were available for panitumumab plus irinotecan-based chemotherapy (folinic acid + 5-fluorouracil + irinotecan) (FOLFIRI) in previously untreated patients. Studies reported results for RAS WT subgroups. First-line treatment with anti-EGFR therapies in combination with chemotherapy appeared to have statistically significant benefits for patients who are RAS WT. For the independent economic evaluation, the base-case incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for RAS WT patients for cetuximab plus oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy (folinic acid + 5-fluorouracil + oxaliplatin) (FOLFOX) compared with FOLFOX was £104,205 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained; for panitumumab plus FOLFOX compared with FOLFOX was £204,103 per QALY gained; and for cetuximab plus FOLFIRI compared with FOLFIRI was £122,554 per QALY gained. The ICERs were sensitive to treatment duration, progression-free survival, overall survival (resected patients only) and resection rates.

Limitations: The trials included RAS WT populations only as subgroups. No evidence was available for panitumumab plus FOLFIRI. Two networks were used for the NMA and model, based on the different chemotherapies (FOLFOX and FOLFIRI), as insufficient evidence was available to the assessment group to connect these networks.

Conclusions: Although cetuximab and panitumumab in combination with chemotherapy appear to be clinically beneficial for RAS WT patients compared with chemotherapy alone, they are likely to represent poor value for money when judged by cost-effectiveness criteria currently used in the UK. It would be useful to conduct a RCT in patients with RAS WT.

Study registration: This study is registered as PROSPERO CRD42015016111.

Funding: The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-294
Number of pages294
JournalHealth Technology Assessment
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright Queen’s Printer and Controller of HMSO 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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