The role of health-related economy is crucial due to the finite healthcare resources. Intravenous (i.v.) regimes Nordic FLOX and Nordic FLIRI, and the partly oral alternatives XELIRI and XELOX are four commonly used chemotherapies in the first-line treatment of advanced colorectal cancer (CRC) in the Scandinavian countries, all with different costs.
To describe and compare costs associated with four commonly used treatments for advanced CRC in clinical routine practice. An additional aim was to evaluate the theoretical cost impact of adverse effects associated with the therapies.
The retrospective study was carried out using observations and a clinical quality database of CRC patients treated with Nordic FLOX, Nordic FLIRI, XELIRI and XELOX as first line at an oncology clinic in Gothenburg, Sweden. The treatments are used in parallel in clinical practice. All patients treated from 2003 to 2009 were included. The clinical outcome of the therapies was equivalent; mean treatment time was 5.9-7.7 months. A clinical economic evaluation model was designed. All direct costs associated with the baseline treatment, administration of chemotherapy and drug costs were collected and evaluated.
The maximum cost for the four treatments was estimated to be 72 000-75 000 SEK per patient for six months, of this approximately 8000 SEK was linked to treatment of toxicity. During six months the i.v. treatments could include 17 more outpatient visits per patient compared to the oral alternatives. During treatment at the clinic around 20% of the patients were hospitalised (XELOX excluded, because of few included patients).
The results indicate that the four regimens are similar in terms of treatment costs. Different costs affect the total cost. The oral alternative makes it possible to treat additional patients with the same labour force resources. Treatment of adverse effects contributes to extensive resource use at the hospital.