Cost-Effectiveness of First-Line Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Therapy Initiation Strategies for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Value Health. 2020 Oct;23(10):1292-1299. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2020.05.019. Epub 2020 Aug 7.


Objectives: Overall survival in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in chronic phase is not significantly different by treatment with first-line tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), but emerging evidence reveals differences in costs and safety profiles. We evaluated the 1-year cost-effectiveness of TKI initiation with imatinib, dasatinib, or nilotinib among a hypothetical cohort of incident patients with CML from a US payer's perspective.

Methods: We constructed a decision analytic model to assess quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), healthcare costs, net monetary benefit, and incremental cost-effectiveness of treatment strategies. We used published studies and data from the IBM Watson Health MarketScan database for model parameters. To calculate TKI costs, we used the 2018 Federal Supply Schedule estimates for generic imatinib and branded second-generation TKIs. We evaluated cost-effectiveness under various willingness-to-pay thresholds. We accounted for uncertainty with deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.

Results: In the base-case analysis, imatinib was favored over dasatinib and nilotinib at a lower cost per QALY gained. Imatinib remained the favored strategy after 1-way variations in TKI costs, TKI switching, QALYs, adverse event risk, and CML progression. When we assessed model uncertainty with prespecified parameter distributions, imatinib was cost-saving compared with dasatinib in 40% of 100 0000 simulations and was favored over all simulations compared with nilotinib. First-line treatment with second-generation TKIs was cost-effective in 50% of simulations at a $200 000/QALY willingness-to-pay threshold.

Conclusions: Generic availability of imatinib provides a more cost-effective treatment approach in the first year compared with other available TKIs for newly diagnosed patients with CML.

Keywords: chronic myeloid leukemia, economic evaluation, tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / economics
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Dasatinib / economics
  • Dasatinib / therapeutic use*
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Drug Costs
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Imatinib Mesylate / economics
  • Imatinib Mesylate / therapeutic use*
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / economics
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Pyrimidines / economics
  • Pyrimidines / therapeutic use*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Pyrimidines
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • nilotinib
  • Dasatinib