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Treatment of locally advanced pancreatic carcinoma in Sweden. A health economic comparison of palliative treatment with best supportive care versus palliative treatment with gemcitabine in combination with best supportive care



Treatment of locally advanced pancreatic carcinoma in Sweden. A health economic comparison of palliative treatment with best supportive care versus palliative treatment with gemcitabine in combination with best supportive care



Pharmacoeconomics 15(4): 377-384



Patients with pancreatic cancer have only short survival after diagnosis, irrespective of treatment. The aim of this study was to perform a health economic evaluation of present standard treatment (in most cases, palliative treatment in combination with best supportive care) versus palliative treatment with gemcitabine in combination with best supportive care in patients with locally advanced pancreatic carcinoma. The use of resources and associated costs according to present treatment practice were estimated and calculated retrospectively. Costs were calculated from diagnosis until death. Actual costs and treatment effects for the patient population were compared with expected treatment costs for the same population if they additionally received gemcitabine. This economic analysis is based on a hypothetical comparison and was performed from a societal point of view. The study population consisted of all patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during the year April 1994 to March 1995 and resident in Stockholm County, Sweden. After exclusions, 184 patients were included in the economic analysis. The effects of gemcitabine treatment on survival and disease-related symptoms were extrapolated from the results of a recent randomised clinical trial in North America. The estimated additional costs for chemotherapy, treatment of adverse effects and in- and outpatient care associated with gemcitabine treatment were approximately 132,000 Swedish kronor (SEK) per life-year gained. This result is comparable with costs per life-year gained for other accepted treatments, for example those of home dialysis and kidney transplants for chronic renal failure. Treatment with gemcitabine in patients with pancreatic cancer may be a cost-effective alternative, but the results need to be confirmed in future randomised trials.

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Accession: 047834406

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PMID: 10537956


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