Real-world burden of illness and unmet need in locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma following discontinuation of PD-1/L1 inhibitor therapy: A Medicare claims database analysis

Urol Oncol. 2021 Jul 5;S1078-1439(21)00207-6. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2021.05.001. Online ahead of print.


Background: Several programmed death-1 or death-ligand 1 (PD-1/L1) inhibitors are approved first- or second-line therapies for locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (la/mUC); however, clinical trials show that only ∼20% of patients respond and all ultimately progress. This study elucidated real-world treatment patterns, healthcare resource utilization (HRU), and economic burden among Medicare beneficiaries with la/mUC who discontinue PD-1/L1 inhibitor therapies.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective claims analysis of patients aged ≥65 years diagnosed with la/mUC (2015-2017) who initiated and subsequently discontinued PD-1/L1 inhibitor therapy (index=date of last administration) using Medicare Fee-for-Service Research Identifiable Files. Included patients had ≥12 months pre- and ≥3 months post-index continuous Medicare enrollment, and were followed until disenrollment, death, or data cutoff.

Results: Among 28,063 patients, 17% (n=4652) received ≥1 PD-1/L1 inhibitor following la/mUC diagnosis. Of these, 791 discontinued PD-1/L1 inhibitor therapy and met inclusion criteria (study cohort); 73% male, median age 76 years. Post-discontinuation, 3% received a different PD-1/L1 inhibitor, 46% chemotherapy, and 51% no further systemic treatment. HRU was high during follow-up: 97% had ≥1 outpatient visit and 52% ≥1 hospitalization. Healthcare costs per-patient-per-month were $7153 pre- and $7745 (adjusted) post-index; systemic therapy costs were higher pre- vs. post-index ($2978 vs. $1195) but other costs were higher post-index: hospitalization ($1120 vs. $2200), outpatient ($1437 vs. $2064), hospice ($3 vs. $536), skilled nursing facility ($106 vs. $384).

Conclusions: Over half of Medicare beneficiaries with la/mUC received no disease-directed therapy post-PD-1/L1 inhibitor treatment. Patients who discontinued PD-1/L1 inhibitor therapy had intensive HRU unrelated to therapy costs, highlighting the significant burden of la/mUC and need for treatments that extend survival.

Keywords: Bladder cancer; Healthcare resource utilization; Immune checkpoint inhibitor; Medical costs; Medicare Fee-For-Service.