Aromasin, Herceptin Found Cost-Effective in Treating Breast Cancer

July 3, 2007

Two separate studies published in the online edition of Cancer found that Pfizer’s Aromasin and Genentech’s Herceptin are cost-effective in treating breast cancer, potentially significant evidence for patients seeking insurance coverage for the drugs. Both studies were partially funded by the drugmakers.

The Aromasin (exemestane) study in Canada sought to assess the cost-effectiveness of patients switching to the drug after two to three years of tamoxifen versus continuing on tamoxifen. The patients in the study were postmenopausal women with primary breast cancer undergoing adjuvant therapy for at least five years.

Aromasin was found to be more effective than tamoxifen alone with regard to disease-free survival — a 2.6 percent “absolute improvement. The additional cost was approximately $2,700 per person over 7.5 years.

The authors of the Herceptin (trastuzumab) study performed a cost-effectiveness analysis to assess the clinical and economic implications of adding the drug to adjuvant chemotherapy. Over a lifetime, the projected cost of Herceptin gained was $26,417.