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Pharmacoeconomics. 2003;21(18):1295-313.

Economic evaluations of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor: in the prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia.

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Institute of Health Economics and Clinical Epidemiology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.


The prevailing uncertainty about the pharmacoeconomic positioning of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) in the prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia has resulted in a number of pharmacoeconomic evaluations published in the past 10 years. These studies vary considerably regarding the approaches used and the results presented. In order to contribute to a clearer pharmacoeconomic positioning of G-CSF, a systematic review of economic evaluations was carried out. The focus of the review was prophylaxis and therapy of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia in patients with cancer. A computerised bibliography search of several databases was conducted yielding 33 studies. The findings demonstrated the cost-saving potential of G-CSF in standard-dose chemotherapy to be limited, with lower costs often seen in the control group. The results of these studies were too heterogeneous to extract a clear recommendation from a cost-saving point of view. The administration of G-CSF after high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell support resulted more often in cost savings in the G-CSF group as compared with standard-dose chemotherapy, illustrating a possible cost-saving potential of G-CSF. In the treatment of established chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia, cost savings were found in all studies. This result is surprising but hampered by the small number of studies (n = 5) and remains to be confirmed by more rigourously designed prospective economic analyses. Despite the substantial research on this topic, the economic evaluation of G-CSF is far from being settled and needs further investigation.

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