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Lenvatinib and Sorafenib for Differentiated Thyroid Cancer After Radioactive Iodine: A Systematic Review and Economic Evaluation

Background: Thyroid cancer is a rare cancer, accounting for only 1% of all malignancies in England and Wales. Differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) accounts for ≈94% of all thyroid cancers. Patients with DTC often require treatment with radioactive iodine. Treatment for DTC that is refractory to radioactive iodine [radioactive iodine-refractory DTC (RR-DTC)] is often limited to best supportive care (BSC).

Objectives: We aimed to assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of lenvatinib (Lenvima®; Eisai Ltd, Hertfordshire, UK) and sorafenib (Nexar®; Bayer HealthCare, Leverkusen, Germany) for the treatment of patients with RR-DTC.

Data sources: EMBASE, MEDLINE, PubMed, The Cochrane Library and EconLit were searched (date range 1999 to 10 January 2017; searched on 10 January 2017). The bibliographies of retrieved citations were also examined.

Review methods: We searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews, prospective observational studies and economic evaluations of lenvatinib or sorafenib. In the absence of relevant economic evaluations, we constructed a de novo economic model to compare the cost-effectiveness of lenvatinib and sorafenib with that of BSC.

Results: Two RCTs were identified: SELECT (Study of [E7080] LEnvatinib in 131I-refractory differentiated Cancer of the Thyroid) and DECISION (StuDy of sorafEnib in loCally advanced or metastatIc patientS with radioactive Iodine-refractory thyrOid caNcer). Lenvatinib and sorafenib were both reported to improve median progression-free survival (PFS) compared with placebo: 18.3 months (lenvatinib) vs. 3.6 months (placebo) and 10.8 months (sorafenib) vs. 5.8 months (placebo). Patient crossover was high (≥ 75%) in both trials, confounding estimates of overall survival (OS). Using OS data adjusted for crossover, trial authors reported a statistically significant improvement in OS for patients treated with lenvatinib compared with those given placebo (SELECT) but not for patients treated with sorafenib compared with those given placebo (DECISION). Both lenvatinib and sorafenib increased the incidence of adverse events (AEs), and dose reductions were required (for > 60% of patients). The results from nine prospective observational studies and 13 systematic reviews of lenvatinib or sorafenib were broadly comparable to those from the RCTs. Health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) data were collected only in DECISION. We considered the feasibility of comparing lenvatinib with sorafenib via an indirect comparison but concluded that this would not be appropriate because of differences in trial and participant characteristics, risk profiles of the participants in the placebo arms and because the proportional hazard assumption was violated for five of the six survival outcomes available from the trials. In the base-case economic analysis, using list prices only, the cost-effectiveness comparison of lenvatinib versus BSC yields an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained of £65,872, and the comparison of sorafenib versus BSC yields an ICER of £85,644 per QALY gained. The deterministic sensitivity analyses show that none of the variations lowered the base-case ICERs to < £50,000 per QALY gained.

Limitations: We consider that it is not possible to compare the clinical effectiveness or cost-effectiveness of lenvatinib and sorafenib.

Conclusions: Compared with placebo/BSC, treatment with lenvatinib or sorafenib results in an improvement in PFS, objective tumour response rate and possibly OS, but dose modifications were required to treat AEs. Both treatments exhibit estimated ICERs of > £50,000 per QALY gained. Further research should include examination of the effects of lenvatinib, sorafenib and BSC (including HRQoL) for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, and the positioning of treatments in the treatment pathway.

Related Products

Cat.No. Product Name Information Publications Customer Product Validation
S1164 Lenvatinib (E7080) Lenvatinib (E7080) is a multi-target inhibitor, mostly for VEGFR2(KDR)/VEGFR3(Flt-4) with IC50 of 4 nM/5.2 nM, less potent against VEGFR1/Flt-1, ~10-fold more selective for VEGFR2/3 against FGFR1, PDGFRα/β in cell-free assays. Lenvatinib (E7080) also inhibits FGFR1-4, PDGFR, Kit (c-Kit), RET (c-RET), and shows potent antitumor activities. Phase 3. (52) (5)

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