PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles

Non-Clinical Medicine - Oncology - Public Health and Epidemiology - Urology

Economic Evaluation of First-Line Treatments for Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in A Health Resource–Limited Setting
Published: Thursday, March 08, 2012
Author: Bin Wu et al.

by Bin Wu, Baijun Dong, Yuejuan Xu, Qiang Zhang, Jinfang Shen, Huafeng Chen, Wei Xue


To estimate, from the perspective of the Chinese healthcare system, the economic outcomes of five different first-line strategies among patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC).

Methods and Findings

A decision-analytic model was developed to simulate the lifetime disease course associated with renal cell carcinoma. The health and economic outcomes of five first-line strategies (interferon-alfa, interleukin-2, interleukin-2 plus interferon-alfa, sunitinib and bevacizumab plus interferon-alfa) were estimated and assessed by indirect comparison. The clinical and utility data were taken from published studies. The cost data were estimated from local charge data and current Chinese practices. Sensitivity analyses were used to explore the impact of uncertainty regarding the results. The impact of the sunitinib patient assistant program (SPAP) was evaluated via scenario analysis. The base-case analysis showed that the sunitinib strategy yielded the maximum health benefits: 2.71 life years and 1.40 quality-adjusted life-years (QALY). The marginal cost-effectiveness (cost per additional QALY) gained via the sunitinib strategy compared with the conventional strategy was $220,384 (without SPAP, interleukin-2 plus interferon-alfa and bevacizumab plus interferon-alfa were dominated) and $16,993 (with SPAP, interferon-alfa, interleukin-2 plus interferon-alfa and bevacizumab plus interferon-alfa were dominated). In general, the results were sensitive to the hazard ratio of progression-free survival. The probabilistic sensitivity analysis demonstrated that the sunitinib strategy with SPAP was the most cost-effective approach when the willingness-to-pay threshold was over $16,000.


Our analysis suggests that traditional cytokine therapy is the cost-effective option in the Chinese healthcare setting. In some relatively developed regions, sunitinib with SPAP may be a favorable cost-effective alternative for mRCC.