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The Pharmacological Costs of Second-Line Treatments for Recurrent Ovarian Cancer
  1. Jacopo Giuliani, MD and
  2. Andrea Bonetti, MD
  1. Department of Oncology, Mater Salutis Hospital, Legnago, Verona, Italy.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jacopo Giuliani, MD, Department of Oncology, Mater Salutis Hospital, Az. ULSS 9 Scaligera, Via Gianella, 1-37045 Legnago, Verona, Italy. E-mail: giuliani.jacopo{at}


Introduction In ovarian cancer, it is uncertain which chemotherapy regimen is more clinically effective and cost-effective for the treatment of recurrence; therefore, it might be interesting to make a balance between the cost of the drugs administered and the difference in progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

Methods The present evaluation was restricted to pivotal phase 3 randomized controlled trials. We calculated the pharmacological costs necessary to get the benefit in PFS and OS. The costs of drugs are at the pharmacy of our hospital and are expressed in Euros (€). We have subsequently applied the European Society for Medical Oncology Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale.

Results Our study evaluated 3 phase 3 randomized controlled trials, including 2004 patients. The most relevant increase of costs was associated with the combination chemotherapy including trabectedin, with the highest costs for month of PFS gained (15,836 €) and for month of OS gained (7198 €), but it substantially differs considering the data of partially platinum-sensitive populations (platinum-free interval of 6–12 months), with 3959 € for month of OS gained.

Conclusions The addition of trabectedin to pegylated liposomal doxorubicin for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer can lead to an increase of pharmacological costs. Differently, considering OS in patients with platinum-free interval of 6 to 12 months, there is a halving of pharmacological costs with the addition of trabectedin to pegylated liposomal doxorubicin. These costs are in line with the spending suggested as sustainable (thresholds of <$61,500 per life-year gained).

  • Costs of drugs
  • Randomized phase 3 trials
  • Recurrent advanced ovarian cancer
  • Second-line therapy

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  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.