BACKGROUND: Immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as pembrolizumab, nivolumab, and atezolizumab, have demonstrated substantial survival benefits in patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, there is limited evidence on their relative safety profiles and adverse event (AE)–related cost burden. OBJECTIVE: To compare the AE management costs of nivolumab plus ipilimumab with and without limited chemotherapy with those of chemotherapy, pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy, and atezolizumab plus chemotherapy in a first-line setting among patients with advanced NSCLC. METHODS: The mean per-patient AE costs were estimated using the incidence of all-cause grade 3/4 AEs with any-grade incidence greater than or equal to 15% and the corresponding costs of AE management in the inpatient setting. AE rates were obtained from individual patient data from the CheckMate 227 and CheckMate 9LA trials for nivolumab plus ipilimumab with/without limited chemotherapy and aggregated data from the KEYNOTE-189 and KEYNOTE-407 trials for pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy and the IMpower130 trial for atezolizumab plus chemotherapy. AE management costs from the third-party payer perspective were estimated based on inpatient medical costs from the 2016 United States Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project National Inpatient Sample. All costs were inflated to 2020 US dollars. RESULTS: Nivolumab plus ipilimumab and nivolumab plus ipilimumab plus limited chemotherapy were associated with lower per-patient grade 3/4 AE costs compared with chemotherapy ($1,708 and $624 lower over the treatment course, respectively). Compared with pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy, nivolumab plus ipilimumab was associated with lower grade 3/4 AE costs in patients with nonsquamous histology (difference: −$4,866) and squamous histology (difference: −$3,795), and nivolumab plus ipilimumab with limited chemotherapy also had lower AE costs for both nonsquamous (difference: −$2,800) and squamous (difference: −$2,753) disease. Similarly, nivolumab plus ipilimumab and nivolumab plus ipilimumab plus limited chemotherapy were also associated with lower AE costs ($11,400 and $8,809 lower, respectively) compared with atezolizumab plus chemotherapy among patients with nonsquamous disease. In particular, nivolumab plus ipilimumab without or with limited chemotherapy were associated with much lower AE costs of hematological AEs compared with chemotherapy and other immune checkpoint inhibitor–based treatments in combination with a full course of chemotherapy. CONCLUSIONS: Nivolumab plus ipilimumab with/without limited chemotherapy was associated with lower AE management costs compared with chemotherapy, pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy, and atezolizumab plus chemotherapy as first-line treatment for advanced NSCLC. The AE cost benefits were largely driven by the lower cost burden for hematological AEs for nivolumab plus ipilimumab with/without limited chemotherapy.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The research was funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb. The authors would like to thank Sarah B King, Felicia Castriota, Maya Mahin, Xiaoyan Wang, Shreya Marathe, Eli Orvis, and Julia Ma for their contributions to this study. Medical writing was provided by Shelley Batts, PhD, who was an employee of Analysis Group, Inc., at the time of the study’s conduct, and funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
This study was supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb. The sponsor was involved in all aspects of the work and in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. Dr Stenehjem has received consulting fees from Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dr Lubinga was an employee of Bristol-Myers Squibb at the time of the study’s conduct and holds stock/ options. Drs Betts and Wu are employees of Analysis Group, Inc., a consulting company that has received funding from Bristol-Myers Squibb for this research.
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