The Role of Bortezomib, Thalidomide and Lenalidomide in the Management of Multiple Myeloma: An Overview of Clinical and Economic Information
Bortezomib, thalidomide and lenalidomide can be aimed at treating patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (both eligible and ineligible for transplantation) as well as those with relapsed or refractory disease. This review analysed the available clinical and economic data on these three drugs. Irrespective of which of the three agents is considered, the magnitude of the benefit in newly diagnosed cases (transplanted or non-transplanted) tends to be between 10 and 20 months per patient in terms of progression-free survival or survival; the survival benefit is smaller in relapsed or refractory disease. In addition, a single-institution observational analysis evaluated the outcomes in nearly 3000 consecutive patients examined between 1971 and 2006. The survival in patients diagnosed between 2001 and 2006 was longer than that observed in patients diagnosed between 1994 and 2000. This finding supports the conclusion that novel agents provide a survival improvement compared with traditional therapy. Formal cost-effectiveness studies on these three agents are still lacking. A MEDLINE search retrieved only four short papers or letters and no full-length analysis. Hence, the cost effectiveness of these agents needs further investigation, with separate assessments of the different therapeutic settings. In a simplified analysis, we tried to contrast the average cost of treatment for each of the novel agents versus their respective benefit, expressed in quality-adjusted survival. Despite its preliminary nature, our assessment indicates that the cost effectiveness of these three agents is likely to be within commonly accepted pharmacoeconomic thresholds.
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