Cost differential of chemotherapy for solid tumors

Hasan Nadeem, Thejus T. Jayakrishnan, Rahul Rajeev, Fabian M. Johnston, T. Clark Gamblin, Kiran K. Turaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: A significant portion of national cancer expenditure is attributed to chemotherapy. Although the National Comprehensive Cancer Network has generated recommendations for the treatment of various solid tumors, the outlined chemotherapeutic strategies lack information about the cost differential for increasing effectiveness. Methods: Chemotherapy regimens (curative [adjuvant/neoadjuvant] and metastatic therapy) and dosages outlined in the 2013 National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines were acquired for four common cancers: bladder, breast, colon, and lung. Baseline drug and treatment costs (inUSdollars)were calculated for the averageUSadult maleonthe basis of the payment allowance in the 2013 Medicare Part B average sales price (ASP) drug pricing files. Costs were extrapolated for a treatment period of 6 months. Results: Of the 62 regimens included, the 6-month mean cost of chemotherapy was $26,989 ± $29,971, and the median costwas $9,611 (interquartile range, $6,305-$39,383). Themean cost of metastatic cancer therapy regimens (n = 32) was $35,315632,962 compared with $18,107 ± 23,873 for curative therapy (P =.02). Of the 13 regimens with biologics used, the mean costs were $77,278 versus $13,646 for 49 regimens that did not use biologics (P <.001). The cost differential between extremes of costs for regimens with presumed similar efficacy was $90,843 ($79,165 for curative therapy and $90,210 for metastatic cancer therapy). The highest cost differential was noted in breast cancer regimens at $71,041 for metastatic cancer therapy and $63,926 for curative therapy. Conclusion: A significant cost differential exists between chemotherapeutic regimens for the most common solid tumors. Incorporation of costs and incremental effectiveness in current guidelines may encourage socially responsible practice patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e299-e307
JournalJournal of oncology practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Health Policy


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