The potential impact of CAR T-cell treatment delays on society

Julia Thornton Snider, Michelle Brauer, Rebecca Kee, Katharine Batt, Pinar Karaca-Mandic, Jie Zhang, Dana P. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To date, breakthrough chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies, such as tisagenlecleucel, indicated for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (pALL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), and axicabtagene ciloleucel, indicated for DLBCL, although clinically effective, have been limited by treatment delays. Our study measured the social value of CAR T-cell therapy (CAR T) for relapsed or refractory pALL and DLBCL in the United States and quantified social value lost due to treatment delays. STUDY DESIGN: We used an economic framework for therapy valuation, measuring social value as the sum of consumer surplus and manufacturer profit. Consumer surplus is the difference between the value of health gains from a therapy and its incremental cost, while accounting for indirect costs and benefits to patients. METHODS: For 20 incident cohorts of pALL (n = 20 × 400 = 8000) and DLBCL (n = 20 × 5902 = 118,040), we quantified patient value, calculated as the value of additional quality-adjusted life-years gained with CAR T, minus the incremental cost of CAR T compared with standard of care (SOC). We calculated manufacturer profits using a range of production costs given uncertainties in the production process. Patient value and manufacturer profits were summed to obtain total social value. We measured social value lost from treatment delays, assuming that patients received the SOC while awaiting CAR T-cell treatment. RESULTS: Depending on production costs, as much as $6.5 billion and $34.8 billion in social value was generated for patients with pALL and DLBCL, respectively. However, with 1, 2, or 6 months of treatment delay (assuming $200,000 production costs), the pALL population lost 9.8%, 36.2%, and 67.3% of social value, respectively, whereas the DLBCL population lost 4.2%, 11.5%, and 46.0%, relative to no delay. CONCLUSIONS: The social value of CAR T is significantly limited by treatment delays. Efficient payment mechanisms, adequate capital, and payment policy reform are urgently needed to increase patient access and maximize the value of CAR T.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-386
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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