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Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2019 Sep 23;12:1756284819878304. doi: 10.1177/1756284819878304. eCollection 2019.

Cabozantinib for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: a cost-effectiveness analysis.

Author information

Department of Medicine D and the Liver Institute, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson hospital, 39 Jabotinsky street, Petach-Tikva, 49100, Israel.
Coller School of Management, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Institute of Oncology, Davidoff Cancer Center, Rabin Medical Center, Petach-Tikva, Israel.


Background and aims:

The multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib is a first-line drug for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Treatment options for patients whose disease has progressed on sorafenib are limited. In a recent randomized controlled trial (CELESTIAL trial), patients with advanced HCC who had failed prior systemic therapy had moderate progression-free survival and overall survival advantages when treated with the multi-kinase inhibitor cabozantinib. However, since this treatment is costly and is accompanied by significant adverse events in a large proportion of patients, its cost-effectiveness in these patients should be determined.


We developed a Markov model incorporating health outcomes, measured by life-years and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of cabozantinib compared with placebo in patients who have failed prior systemic therapy.


Treatment with cabozantinib results in a mean gain of 11.6 weeks of life (0.22 life-years) as compared with placebo. When quality of life was incorporated, treatment with cabozantinib produced a gain of 0.16 QALYs. The total mean incremental cost of cabozantinib was US$76,406 per patient. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for cabozantinib compared with best supportive care was US$469,374/QALY using the recommended dose of 60 mg cabozantinib daily.


Our results suggest that the use of cabozantinib in patients with advanced HCC who have progressed on prior treatment, results in a modest incremental benefit with high incremental costs, suggesting that it is not cost-effective at conventional willingness to pay thresholds.


liver cancer; multi-kinase inhibitor; quality-adjusted life-years; willingness to pay

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

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