Cost-effectiveness of pembrolizumab as first-line therapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer

Mina Georgieva, Joao P. da Silveira Nogueira Lima, Pedro Aguiar, Gilberto de Lima Lopes, Benjamin Haaland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: Anti-PD-1 immunotherapy has dramatically shifted therapeutic perspectives for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We assessed cost-effectiveness of anti-PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab compared to platinum-doublet chemotherapy as first-line therapy for advanced NSCLC. Methods: We retrieved survival, progression, and safety data comparing first-line pembrolizumab to platinum-doublets for advanced NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50%, non-mutated EGFR, and non-translocated ALK, from KEYNOTE-024. Published United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US) costs informed incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs). Our analysis was based on a Bayesian Markov model of disease with full lifetime horizon. We estimated costs in USD and summarized effectiveness as quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). Results: Patients treated with pembrolizumab accumulated 1.80 QALYs (95% CrI 1.56–1.89), for moderate dependency between outcomes, compared to 1.06 QALYs (0.94–1.13) with chemotherapy. From a British National Health System (NHS) perspective, the ICER was $52k ($43k–$69k) per end-of-life (EoL) adjusted QALY gained, above the 42k USD threshold, while from a US cost perspective, the ICER was $49k ($40k-67k) per EoL adjusted QALY, below the hypothetical 100k USD threshold. Conclusions: Evidence suggests first-line pembrolizumab for NSCLC may be cost-effective in the US but not the UK, in spite of very similar ICER values in both countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-254
Number of pages7
JournalLung Cancer
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Bayesian Markov model
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • First-line therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Pembrolizumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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