Pharmacoeconomic profile of taxanes in advanced ovarian cancer

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This article reviews the information currently available on the pharmacoeconomic profile of taxanes in ovarian cancer. Because paclitaxel is the only taxene approved for this clinical indication, our overview is almost entirely focused on the cost-effectiveness profile of this drug. In advanced ovarian cancer, first-line regimens based on paclitaxel have been reported to be more effective than standard therapy based on cyclophosphamide + cisplatin. The improved survival with paclitaxel and the increased cost induced by this drug have prompted a series of pharmacoeconomic analyses, the results of which are summarized and discussed. Three studies, published between 1996 and 1997, calculated the cost per life-year gained using paclitaxel + cisplatin as opposed to cyclophosphamide + cisplatin. The estimates of survival gain and increased expenditure using paclitaxel were very similar; consequently, the results produced by these three analyses were homogeneous with values of cost per life-year gained around $20 000. Because this value is below the conventional limit of $50 000, the pharmacoeconomic results on paclitaxel suggest a favorable cost-effectiveness profile. Docetaxel is another taxane proposed for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer; however, the drug has not yet been approved for this clinical indication and so a pharmacoeconomic assessment on this agent is still premature.

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