HealthDay News — According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the survival of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is projected to increase by 2025 and the corresponding cost of care will increase considerably.

Qiushi Chen, from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and colleagues developed a simulation model that assessed the evolving management of CLL from 2011 to 2025; using chemoimmunotherapy (CIT) as standard of care before 2014 and use of oral targeted therapy for specific patients from 2014 and for first-line therapy from 2016. 

A comparator scenario was simulated with CIT as standard of care throughout the study period.

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The researchers note that due to improved survival the number of patients living with CLL in the United States is projected to increase 55%, from 128,000 in 2011 to 199,000 by 2025. The annual cost of CLL management is expected to increase 590%, from $0.74 billion to $5.13 billion. 

A 310% increase is anticipated in per-patient lifetime cost of CLL treatment, from $147,000 to $604,000, as oral targeted therapies become first-line treatment. The corresponding total out-of-pocket costs for patients enrolled in Medicare will increase from $9200 to $57,000 (520%). 

Oral targeted therapies resulted in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $189,000 per quality-adjusted life-year compared with the CIT scenario.

“More sustainable pricing strategies for targeted therapies are needed to avoid financial toxicity to patients,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.


Chen Q, Jain N, Ayer T, et al. Economic Burden of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in the Era of Oral Targeted Therapies in the United States. Journal of Clinical Oncology. November 2016. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2016.68.2856. [Epub ahead of print]

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