Cost-benefit analysis of capecitabine versus 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin in the treatment of colorectal cancer in the Netherlands

Frank G A Jansman*, Maarten J Postma, David van Hartskamp, Pax H B Willemse, Jacobus R B J Brouwers

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    BACKGROUND: Capecitabine is an oral prodrug of 5-fluorouracil and has been studied for the treatment of colorectal cancer. In 2 Phase III trials, capecitabine was at least as effective as 5-fluorouracil plus leucovorin and had a more favorable toxicity profile.

    OBJECTIVE: A cost-benefit analysis was used to assess the pharmacoeconomic profile of capecitabine compared with 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin, given according to the Mayo regimen, for colorectal cancer patients treated in the Netherlands.

    METHODS: The medical files of patients treated for colorectal cancer at a single center from 1999 to 2002 were examined to determine the numbers of outpatient visits for 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin administration, health care use and medication to manage adverse effects, and travel distance to and from the hospital. The costs of capecitabine treatment were simulated by assuming that the same patients were treated with capecitabine instead of 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin. Toxicity data for capecitabine were derived from 2 Phase III studies that compared capecitabine and 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin.

    RESULTS: The files of 65 patients were reviewed. Thirty-two patients received adjuvant treatment and 33 patients were treated palliatively for metastatic disease. The mean total costs of palliative treatment were Euro 4004 with capecitabine and Euro 5614 with 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin. These results were robust in sensitivity analyses. The cost savings were primarily related to the number of outpatient visits for capecitabine versus the number of day-care treatment days for 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin, despite the higher acquisition costs of capecitabine.

    CONCLUSIONS: Based on this analysis, treatment of colorectal cancer with oral capecitabine is cost saving in the Netherlands compared with 5-fluorouracil plus leucovorin administered according to the Mayo regimen. Baseline savings were estimated at Euro 1610 for palliative treatment and Euro 934 for adjuvant treatment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)579 - 589
    Number of pages11
    JournalClinical Therapeutics
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr-2004


    • Administration, Oral
    • Antineoplastic Agents/adverse effects
    • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols/administration & dosage
    • Capecitabine
    • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
    • Colorectal Neoplasms/drug therapy
    • Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • Deoxycytidine/adverse effects
    • Fluorouracil/administration & dosage
    • Humans
    • Injections, Intravenous
    • Leucovorin/administration & dosage
    • Netherlands
    • Palliative Care/economics
    • Prodrugs/adverse effects
    • Retrospective Studies

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