The costs of managing advanced colorectal cancer: a broad perspective.
Kerr DJ., O'Connor KM.
Cancer care is expensive, consuming between 5 and 10% of health-care resources in industrialized countries. Therefore increasing emphasis is being placed on the value of treatment interventions. Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in the Western world and nearly two-thirds of patients will require palliative treatment. Only limited data are available on the cost of palliative chemotherapy for patients with advanced disease. The profile of raltitrexed ('Tomudex', formerly ZD1694) suggests that it may reduce costs associated with the administration of chemotherapy. Recent studies demonstrate that the total monthly cost of raltitrexed is lower or about the same as a variety of commonly used 5-fluorouracil-based regimens and offers potential savings for hospitals in terms of demand on specialist facilities, physician, nursing and pharmacy time, and overnight bed occupancy. The personal cost borne by patients and their carers for travelling and time off work is reduced with raltitrexed compared with the widely used Mayo regimen. However, there may be disincentives within certain national health-care systems to the introduction of a more resource-efficient drug such as raltitrexed. Physicians will need information on both the benefits and costs of drug treatments to be able to make informed decisions on the provision of high quality, cost-effective patient care, and it is likely that health economic assessment will be incorporated into increasing numbers of clinical trials.