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Pharmacoeconomics. 2006;24(5):443-52.

Cost effectiveness of increasing the dose intensity of chemotherapy with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor in small-cell lung cancer: based on data from the Medical Research Council LU19 trial.

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Centre for Health Economics, University of York, York, England.



The use of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) can enable dose intensification of chemotherapy in small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). However, given its acquisition cost, it is important to assess its cost effectiveness within a resource-constrained health service.


To assess the cost effectiveness, from the UK NHS perspective, of G-CSF given in addition to doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide and etoposide (ACE) versus ACE alone in the management of SCLC.


Using data from a UK Medical Research Council trial (LU19) to assess chemotherapy dose intensification in patients with previously untreated SCLC of any disease extent, a retrospective cost-effectiveness analysis was undertaken. Resource use data, including hospitalisations and non-protocol cancer treatments, were collected during the first 6-month treatment phase of the trial. Mean costs ( pound, 2003 values) of managing patients in the two arms of the trial were calculated. Mean survival duration was calculated for the two groups using patient-specific follow-up data collected in the trial. Incremental cost-effectiveness analysis was undertaken, and uncertainty in cost effectiveness was expressed using cost-effectiveness acceptability curves.


The use of G-CSF in addition to ACE chemotherapy is more costly ( 4647 pounds) but results in longer mean survival duration (0.20 years; 0.18 years when discounted). This generates an incremental cost per additional life-year of 25,816 pounds for ACE + G-CSF therapy. The probability of the addition of G-CSF being cost effective, if decision makers are willing to pay 30,000 pounds for an additional life-year, is 0.57. Secondary analysis suggests that cost effectiveness is likely to be sensitive to assumptions about the health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) experienced by patients.


Based on data collected in the LU19 trial, chemotherapy dose intensification using G-CSF in SCLC adds to health service costs but increases survival duration. Its overall cost effectiveness is likely to be finely balanced.

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