Cost-effectiveness of interferon alfa in chronic myelogenous leukemia

Nicola L. Liberato, Silvana Quaglini, Giovanni Barosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of interferon alfa (IFNα) treatment of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia relative to conventional chemotherapy. Materials and Methods: A decision-analysis model that involved a multistate Markov process was designed to estimate the expected cost and quality-adjusted life expectancies for two cohorts of patients to be administered conventional chemotherapy or IFNα. Two IFNα strategies were modeled: prolonged treatment for patients who achieved a hematologic response (scenario A) or only for patients who achieved a cytogenetic remission in a 2-year period (scenario B). Data on response and transition probabilities between health states were obtained from the literature by a MEDLINE search and pooled with a meta-analytic method. Costs were based on local charges. Expected survival was adjusted for quality of life an the basis of an expert panel judgment. Results: Baseline analysis showed IFNα treatment to increase quality-adjusted life expectancy by 15.5 and 12.5 months relative to conventional chemotherapy, in scenarios A and B, respectively. Marginal cost-effectiveness was $89,500 and $63,500 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained. Sensitivity analysis confirmed IFNα as the most effective approach. Cost-effectiveness results were sensitive to the cost of IFNα therapy and to the assumptions about the rate of cytogenetic remission. Reducing the drug dose, as suggested by a recent report, would decrease the marginal cost-effectiveness to less than $20,000. Conclusion: IFNα is substantially superior to conventional chemotherapy in terms of quality-adjusted survival, but, at the current doses, marginal cost-effectiveness ranges from $50,000 to $100,000 per QALY gained under most of our assumptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2673-2682
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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