Cost-Effectiveness of Cetuximab as First-line Treatment for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer in the United States

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We conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis incorporating recent phase III clinical trial (FIRE-3) data to evaluate clinical and economic tradeoffs associated with first-line treatments of KRAS wild-type (WT) metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).

Materials and Methods:

A cost-effectiveness model was developed using FIRE-3 data to project survival and lifetime costs of FOLFIRI plus either cetuximab or bevacizumab. Hypothetical KRAS-WT mCRC patients initiated first-line treatment and could experience adverse events, disease progression warranting second-line treatment, or clinical response and hepatic metastasectomy. Model inputs were derived from FIRE-3 and published literature. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were reported as US$ per life year (LY) and quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Scenario analyses considered patients with extended RAS mutations and CALGB/SWOG 80405 data; 1-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were conducted.


Compared with bevacizumab, KRAS-WT patients receiving first-line cetuximab gained 5.7 months of life at a cost of $46,266, for an ICER of $97,223/LY ($122,610/QALY). For extended RAS-WT patients, the ICER was $77,339/LY ($99,584/QALY). Cetuximab treatment was cost-effective 80.3% of the time, given a willingness-to-pay threshold of $150,000/LY. Results were sensitive to changes in survival, treatment duration, and product costs.


Our analysis of FIRE-3 data suggests that first-line treatment with cetuximab and FOLFIRI in KRAS (and extended RAS) WT mCRC patients may improve health outcomes and use financial resources more efficiently than bevacizumab and FOLFIRI. This information, in combination with other studies investigating comparative effectiveness of first-line options, can be useful to clinicians, payers, and policymakers in making treatment and resource allocation decisions for mCRC patients.

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