Economic Evaluation of Systemic Treatments for Advanced Melanoma: A Systematic Review

from Value in Health at on August 30, 2019 at 01:42PM

Publication date: Available online 29 August 2019

Source: Value in Health

Author(s): Claire Gorry, Laura McCullagh, Michael Barry


Many high cost treatments for advanced melanoma have become available in recent years. National health technology assessment agencies have raised concerns regarding uncertainty in their clinical and cost-effectiveness.


The aim of this systematic review is to identify economic evaluations of treatments for advanced melanoma and review model assumptions, outcomes, and quality as preparation for a health technology assessment.


A search of Embase, MEDLINE, EconLit, and the Cochrane Database was conducted. Only studies using decision-analytic models were included. Two authors independently completed full-text review and data extraction.


Fifteen studies were identified. There were major differences in the structural assumptions underpinning the models. There was general agreement in study conclusions, although the predicted costs and quality-adjusted life years for each treatment varied. BRAF monotherapy (vemurafenib, dabrafenib) or BRAF/MEK combination therapy (BRAF monotherapy with cobimetinib or trametinib) has not been shown to be cost-effective in any jurisdiction. PD-1 inhibitors (pembrolizumab, nivolumab) are consistently found to be cost-effective compared with ipilimumab, although their cost-effectiveness compared with chemotherapy is not established. Combination therapy with nivolumab and ipilimumab is unlikely to be cost-effective in any setting. One study including all agents found that none of the new treatments were cost-effective relative to chemotherapy. Publication of the study in a health economics journal is associated with better reporting of and higher-quality assessment than those published in clinical journals.


Despite differences in model structures and assumptions, the conclusions of most included studies were consistent. Health technology assessment has a key role in maximizing value from high-cost innovative treatments. Consideration should be given to divestment from BRAF/MEK inhibitors and ipilimumab in favor of reimbursement of PD-1 inhibitors.