Rituximab improves survival in follicular lymphoma (FL), but is considerably more expensive than conventional chemotherapy. We estimated the total direct medical costs, cumulative survival, and cost-effectiveness of adding rituximab to first-line chemotherapy for FL, based on a single source of data representing routine practice in the elderly. Using surveillance, epidemiology, and end results (SEER) registry data plus Medicare claims, we identified 1,117 FL patients who received first-line CHOP (cyclophosphamide (C), doxorubicin, vincristine (V), and prednisone (P)) or CVP +/- rituximab. Multivariate regression was used to estimate adjusted cumulative cost and survival differences between the two groups over four years after beginning treatment. The median age was 73 years (minimum 66 years), 56% had stage III-IV disease, and 67% received rituximab. Adding rituximab to first-line chemotherapy was associated with higher adjusted incremental total cost ($18,695; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) $9,302$28,643) and longer adjusted cumulative survival (0.18 years; 95% CI 0.100.27) over four years of followup. The expected cost-effectiveness was $102,142 (95% CI $34,531296, 337) per life-year gained. In routine clinical practice, adding rituximab to first-line chemotherapy for elderly patients with FL results in higher direct medical costs to Medicare and longer cumulative survival after four years.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health