Purpose The aim of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of nivolumab versus ipilimumab for the treatment of previously untreated patients with BRAF-advanced melanoma (BRAF-AM) from an Australian health system perspective. Methods A state-transition Markov model was constructed to simulate the progress of Australian patients with BRAF-AM. The model had a 10-year time horizon with outcomes discounted at 5% annually. For the nivolumab group, risks of progression and death were based on those observed in the nivolumab arm of a phase III trial (nivolumab vs. dacarbazine). Progression-free survival and overall survival were extrapolated using parametric survival modeling with a log-logistic distribution. In the absence of head-to-head evidence, overall survival and progression-free survival for ipilimumab were estimated on the basis of an indirect comparison using published data. Costs of managing AM were estimated from a survey of Australian clinicians. The cost of ipilimumab was based on the reimbursement price in Australia. The cost of nivolumab was based on expected reimbursement prices in Australia. Quality-of-life data were obtained within the trial using the EuroQol five-dimensional questionnaire. Results Compared with ipilimumab, nivolumab therapy over 10 years was estimated to yield 1.58 life-years and 1.30 quality-adjusted life-years per person, at a (discounted) net cost of US $39,039 per person. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for nivolumab compared with ipilimumab were US $25,101 per year of life saved and $30,475 per quality-adjusted life-year saved. Conclusions Nivolumab is a cost-effective means of preventing downstream mortality and morbidity in patients with AM compared with ipilimumab in the Australian setting.
- cost-effectiveness analysis