Potential cost savings of oral versus intravenous etoposide in the treatment of small cell lung cancer

Pharmacoeconomics. 1992 Apr;1(4):293-7. doi: 10.2165/00019053-199201040-00006.


An economic analysis was conducted on a randomised multicentre study comparing the use of intravenous (IV) etoposide versus oral etoposide treatment regimens in patients with small cell lung cancer. 41 patients received cisplatin 100 mg/m 2 intravenously (IV) on study day 1 and etoposide 120 mg/m 2 IV on study days 1, 2, and 3 (IV regimen); and 42 patients received cisplatin 100 mg/m 2 IV and etoposide 120 mg/m 2 IV on study day 1 and 240 mg/m 2 orally (equivalent to 120 mg/m 2 IV) on study days 2 and 3 (oral regimen). The results of the study from which these data were extracted showed equal efficacy between groups. Based on a retrospective review of resource use in the clinical trial, patient healthcare costs were examined in the following areas: antineoplastic drugs, IV fluids, supplies used for chemotherapy administration, and chemotherapy administration procedure fees. The total cost per course of therapy was $US2002 for the IV regimen and $US1653 for the oral regimen. This represented a 17% savings for patients receiving the oral regimen.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / drug therapy*
  • Cisplatin
  • Cost Savings
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Etoposide / administration & dosage*
  • Etoposide / economics*
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous / economics
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Etoposide
  • Cisplatin