BACKGROUND: Ofatumumab (Arzerra®, Novartis) is a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia refractory to fludarabine and alemtuzumab [double refractory (DR-CLL)]. Ofatumumab was licensed on the basis of an uncontrolled Phase II study, Hx-CD20-406, in which patients receiving ofatumumab survived for a median of 13.9 months. However, the lack of an internal control arm presents an obstacle for the estimation of comparative effectiveness.
METHODS: The objective of the study was to present a method to estimate the cost effectiveness of ofatumumab in the treatment of DR-CLL. As no suitable historical control was available for modelling, the outcomes from non-responders to ofatumumab were used to model the effect of best supportive care (BSC). This was done via a Cox regression to control for differences in baseline characteristics between groups. This analysis was included in a partitioned survival model built in Microsoft® Excel with utilities and costs taken from published sources, with costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were discounted at a rate of 3.5% per annum.
RESULTS: Using the outcomes seen in non-responders, ofatumumab is expected to add approximately 0.62 life years (1.50 vs. 0.88). Using published utility values this translates to an additional 0.30 QALYs (0.77 vs. 0.47). At the list price, ofatumumab had a cost per QALY of £130,563, and a cost per life year of £63,542. The model was sensitive to changes in assumptions regarding overall survival estimates and utility values.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the potential of using data for non-responders to model outcomes for BSC in cost-effectiveness evaluations based on single-arm trials. Further research is needed on the estimation of comparative effectiveness using uncontrolled clinical studies.