The cost burden of trastuzumab and bevacizumab therapy for solid tumours in Canada

Arik Drucker, C. Skedgel, K. Virik, D. Rayson, M. Sellon, T. Younis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) such as trastuzumab and bevacizumab have become important yet expensive components of systemic cancer therapy across a variety of disease sites. We assessed the potential cost implications of adopting trastuzumab and bevacizumab therapy in the context of their potential utilization in breast, lung, and colorectal cancers. Design: We first estimated MAb costs per patient and treatment indication and then included the MAb acquisition cost and the costs of medical resource utilizations required for therapy delivery. Drug costs were based on 2005 average Canadian wholesale prices, assuming full drug delivery and uncomplicated cycles. A direct-payer perspective was undertaken, and results are reported in Canadian dollars. Potential lifetime costs were then derived according to constructed schema, which account for absolute numbers of target patients and systemic therapy utilization. We subsequently estimated costs of MAb therapy relative to total costs of conventional management without MAb therapy. Results: Trastuzumab costs $49,915 and $28,350 per patient treated in the adjuvant and metastatic breast cancer settings, respectively; bevacizumab costs $48,490 and $39,614 per patient treated in the metastatic lung and colorectal cancer settings, respectively. Potential lifetime absolute costs to Canada's health care system were approximately $127 million and $299 million for trastuzumab and bevacizumab respectively, corresponding to an average increase in health care expenditure of approximately 19% for breast cancer and 21 % for lung and colorectal cancer over conventional management without MAbs. Conclusions: Novel Mab-based therapies such as trastuzumab and bevacizumab will likely add a significant cost burden to Canada's publicly funded health care system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Bevacizumab
  • Health care costs
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Neoplams
  • Trastuzumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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