Effects of indirect and additional direct costs on the risk threshold for prophylaxis with colony-stimulating factors in patients at risk for severe neutropenia from cancer chemotherapy

Pharmacotherapy. 2004 Apr;24(4):488-94. doi: 10.1592/phco.24.5.488.33360.


Study objectives: Previous studies have used direct hospital costs to determine the threshold at which the cost of prophylactic use of colony-stimulating factor (CSF) is offset by savings from the lower risk of hospitalization for febrile neutropenia. By conducting a survey of patients in whom febrile neutropenia had developed during treatment with chemotherapy, we sought to reassess these costs by including estimates of indirect costs associated with febrile neutropenia as well as new categories of direct costs that were not previously available. Costs were included in an existing cost-minimization model, and their effect on the risk threshold at which the prophylactic use of CSF becomes cost saving was determined.

Patients: A sample survey of 26 patients with ovarian cancer who were treated with chemotherapy and developed febrile neutropenia.

Intervention: Analysis of data from patients' questionnaires containing survey items on indirect costs and additional direct costs associated with febrile neutropenia.

Measurements and main results: Estimates of indirect costs and other direct costs from the questionnaires were included in an existing cost-minimization model, and risk thresholds were recalculated. Before modification, the model showed cost neutrality for prophylactic use of CSF when the risk of hospitalization for febrile neutropenia was approximately 23%. Including previously excluded direct costs and indirect costs ranging from 1000-5000 dollars attributable to severe neutropenia in the model lowered the risk threshold for hospitalization for febrile neutropenia at which the prophylactic use of CSF becomes cost neutral to between 22% and 18%.

Conclusion: Including additional direct as well as indirect costs associated with chemotherapy-induced neutropenia permits a more realistic assessment of the possible effect of prophylactic use of CSF from a societal perspective. Despite the limited size of the survey, this study shows a cost-benefit rationale to support prophylactic use of CSF in a greater proportion of patients treated with chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Colony-Stimulating Factors / economics*
  • Colony-Stimulating Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Models, Economic
  • Neutropenia / chemically induced
  • Neutropenia / economics*
  • Neutropenia / prevention & control*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Risk


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Colony-Stimulating Factors