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Christine M Bestvina

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    MA 03 - Chemotherapy (ID 651)

    • Event: WCLC 2017
    • Type: Mini Oral
    • Track: Advanced NSCLC
    • Presentations: 1
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      MA 03.09 - The Cost and the Benefit: Front-Line Immunotherapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (ID 9645)

      11:00 - 12:30  |  Presenting Author(s): Christine M Bestvina

      • Abstract
      • Presentation
      • Slides

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved pembrolizumab in combination with carboplatin/pemetrexed for patients with untreated, metastatic, non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer based on KEYNOTE 021G. This trial randomized 123 patients to carboplatin/pemetrexed versus carboplatin/pemetrexed/pembrolizumab with maintenance pembrolizumab. Maintenance pemetrexed was optional in both arms. Progression-free survival (PFS) was longer for carboplatin/pemetrexed/pembrolizumab (not reached vs. 8.9 months, HR 0.49, 95% CI 0.29-0.83, p=0.0035). No statistically significant improvement in overall survival (OS) has yet been demonstrated (HR 0.69, 95% CI 0.36-1.31, p=0.13), with neither arm reaching median OS. Frontline pembrolizumab improves PFS and OS in comparison to chemotherapy in patients with high PD-L1 expression. Drug cost information should be available to providers to better inform decision-making and assess value.

      Dose calculations were based on the following: GFR 125, BSA 2.00 m2, carboplatin AUC 5, pemetrexed 500mg/m2, and pembrolizumab 200mg. Drug costs were obtained via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Pricing File.

      Four cycles of carboplatin/pemetrexed/pembrolizumab followed by maintenance pembrolizumab and pemetrexed cost $618,889. Four cycles of carboplatin/pemetrexed followed by pemetrexed maintenance cost $249,972. Pembrolizumab alone for an equivalent number of cycles cost $368,917. Table 1: Regimen Cost Calculations Figure 1

      While the addition of pembrolizumab to front-line therapy resulted in an improvement in PFS in a phase II study of 123 patients, it increased medication costs 2.4 fold, from $249,972 to $618,889. Phase III trials are underway to more definitively assess the benefit of immunotherapy administered with chemotherapy in a broad population of patients. Treatment with carboplatin/pemetrexed/pembrolizumab cost 1.7 times that of pembrolizumab alone, and the addition of chemotherapy is of unclear benefit for patients with high PD-L1 expression. Further defining patient subsets who will benefit the most from this costly regimen should be undertaken. It is crucial healthcare professionals and patients understand the cost implications of front line therapy options.

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