Cost-effectiveness analysis of transarterial chemoembolization combined with lenvatinib as the first-line treatment for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma
Purpose: Results from the LAUNCH trial suggest transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) in combination with lenvatinib is significantly more effective than lenvatinib as a first-line treatment option for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the cost of TACE is substantial. This study compares the cost-effectiveness of TACE in combination with lenvatinib (TACE-LEN) with that of lenvatinib alone as the first-line treatment for advanced HCC from the perspective of the Chinese healthcare system. Methods: Markov models of different health states were constructed to simulate first-line treatment, disease progression, and survival in patients with advanced HCC. Clinical efficacy was obtained from the LAUNCH trial. The cost of drugs was sourced from national tender prices, and the treatment cost of weight-decreased was obtained from the Fujian Provincial Bureau of Prices. Other costs and utility values were based on the published literature. Total costs, life years (LYs), quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) comprised the model output. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to validate model robustness and subgroup analyses were also conducted. Results: Analysis of the model showed that compared to lenvatinib, TACE-LEN improved effectiveness by 1.60 QALYs at a total cost increase of $48,874.69, with an ICER value of $30,482.13/QALY. A one-way sensitivity analysis found that the progression-free survival utility value per year had the greatest impact on the model. A probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed that TACE-LEN had a 97.9% probability of being cost-effective as the first-line treatment option for advanced HCC compared to lenvatinib when the willingness-to-pay (WTP) value was $38,201/QALY (three times the Chinese GDP per capita in 2022). Subgroup analysis showed that all subgroups of patients preferred TACE-LEN. However, when the WTP threshold was below $30,300/QALY, TACE-LEN is no longer cost-effective. Conclusion: Our study found TACE-LEN to be a cost-effective treatment option for patients with advanced HCC compared to lenvatinib from a Chinese healthcare system perspective, but not so in low-income provinces in China.