Background: The aim of the study was to capture societal utility scores for health state descriptions of advanced, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), as well as determine disutility associated with specific disease symptoms.
Methods: NSCLC health states were produced based on an adaptation of existing health state descriptions for metastatic lung cancer. The health states were expanded to contrast disease state (responding disease and stable disease) and impact of specific severe symptoms (cough; dyspnoea; pain; or no additional severe symptoms). Interviews with five lung cancer clinicians were carried out to assess the content and face validity of the existing health states as descriptions specific to NSCLC. The interviews also sought to explore the impact of the disease symptoms of interest. The resulting health states were reviewed by two psychometric experts independently. The final health states were piloted in a conventional standard gamble interview which revealed no significant issues in interpretation or comprehension. In the main study, 101 members of the general public assessed their preference for each health state in a chained standard gamble (SG) interview and on a visual analogue scale (VAS) rating scale. All participants also completed the EQ-5D and a socio-demographic form.
Results: The study sample was a relatively good match to the characteristics of the general public in England and Wales. A mixed model analysis revealed that age, gender, and HRQL were not significant predictors of utility, but a treatment response and each of the disease symptoms were. When adjusted to match census data, stable disease with no additional symptoms had a utility value of 0.626. Health state values declined by 0.069 with the addition of pain; 0.050 for dyspnoea; or 0.046 for cough. A treatment response would result in a utility gain of 0.086.
Conclusions: Members of the general public showed a preference for responding disease over stable disease and a stable health state with no additional symptoms over a stable health state with one of the three common NSCLC symptoms: cough, dyspnoea, and pain. The study highlights the value that society places on the avoidance of severe symptoms that some people with NSCLC can experience.