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Health Technol Assess. 2012;16(39):1-543. doi: 10.3310/hta16390.

The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of enzyme and substrate replacement therapies: a longitudinal cohort study of people with lysosomal storage disorders.

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Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.



To determine natural history and estimate effectiveness and cost of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) and substrate replacement therapy (SRT) for patients with Gaucher disease, Fabry disease, mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I), mucopolysaccharidosis type II (MPS II), Pompe disease and Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease.


Cohort study including prospective and retrospective clinical- and patient-reported data. Age- and gender-adjusted treatment effects were estimated using generalised linear mixed models. Treated patients contributed data before and during treatment. Untreated patients contributed natural history data.


National Specialised Commissioning Group-designated lysosomal storage disorder (LSD) treatment centres in England.


Consenting adults and children with a diagnosis of Gaucher disease (n = 272), Fabry disease (n = 499), MPS I (n = 126), MPS II (n = 58), NPC (n = 58) or Pompe disease (n = 93) who had attended a treatment centre in England.


ERT and SRT.


Clinical outcomes chosen by clinicians to reflect disease progression for each disorder; patient-reported quality-of-life (QoL) data; cost of treatment and patient-reported service-use data; numbers of hospitalisations, outpatient and general practitioner appointments; medication use; data pertaining to associated family/carer costs and QoL impacts.


Seven hundred and eleven adults and children were recruited. In those with Gaucher disease (n = 175) ERT was associated with improved platelet count, haemoglobin, liver function and reduced risk of enlarged liver or spleen. No association was found between ERT and QoL. In patients with Fabry disease (n = 311) increased time on ERT was associated with small decreases in left ventricular mass and improved glomerular filtration rate, but not with changes in risk of stroke/transient ischaemic attacks or the need for a hearing aid. There was a statistically significant association between duration of ERT use and worsening QoL and fatigue scores. We found no statistical difference in estimates of treatment effectiveness between the two preparations, agalsidase beta (Fabrazyme(®), Genzyme) (n = 127) and agalsidase alpha (Replagal(®), Shire HGT) (n = 91), licensed for this condition. In Pompe disease (n = 77) our data provide some evidence of a beneficial effect on muscle strength and mobility as measured by a 6-minute walk test in adult-onset patients; there were insufficient data from infantile-onset Pompe patients to estimate associations between ERT and outcome. Among subjects with MPS I (n = 68), 42 of the 43 patients with MPS I subtype Hurler's disease had undergone a bone marrow transplant. No significant associations were found between ERT and any outcome measure for the MPS I subtype Scheie disease and heparan sulphate patients. An association between duration of ERT and growth in children was the only statistically significant finding among patients with MPS II (n = 39). There were insufficient data for patients with NPC disease to draw any conclusions regarding the effectiveness of SRT. The current annual cost to the NHS of the different ERTs means that between 3.6 and 17.9 discounted quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) for adult patients and between 2.6 and 10.5 discounted QALYs for child patients would need to be generated for each year of being on treatment for ERTs to be considered cost-effective by conventional criteria.


These data provide further evidence on the effectiveness of ERT in people with LSDs. However, the results need to be interpreted in light of the fact that the data are observational and the relative lack of power due to the small numbers of patients with MPS I, MPS II, Pompe disease and NPC disease. Future work should aim to effectively address the unanswered questions and this will require agreement on a common set of outcome measures and their consistent collection across all treatment centres.


This project was funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 16, No. 39. See the HTA programme website for further project information.

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