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Leuk Lymphoma. 2015 May;56(5):1385-91. doi: 10.3109/10428194.2014.953141. Epub 2014 Oct 21.

Real-world cost-effectiveness in chronic myeloid leukemia: the price of success during four decades of development from non-targeted treatment to imatinib.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Karolinska University Hospital, Karolinska Institutet , Stockholm , Sweden.


Imatinib has revolutionized the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). We evaluated clinical outcome and cost-effectiveness, using Swedish registry data based on patients with CML diagnosed 1973-2008. Outcome from three time periods (I: 1973-1979; II: 1991-1997; III: 2002-2008) associated with symptomatic treatment, interferon-α/stem cell transplant and implementation of imatinib, respectively, were compared and a lifetime cost-effectiveness model developed. Survival data from population registries, estimated resource use from clinical practice and quality of life estimates were employed. Substantial health gains were noted over time, paralleled by increased treatment costs. Median survival was 1.9, 4.0 and 13 years during the respective time periods. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) between periods III and II was €52,700 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. An estimated 80% price reduction of imatinib, related to patent expiry, would reduce this ICER to €22,700. Our data from four decades reveal dramatically improved survival in CML, paralleled by ICER levels generally accepted by health authorities.


Chronic myeloid leukemia; costs; imatinib; lifetime simulation; population-based; survival

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