July 2019 – Cost analysis of treating diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in Malawi indicates that per-patient cost of first-line treatment of DLBCL in Malawi is low relative to high-income countries, suggesting that investments in fixed-duration, curative-intent DLBCL treatment may be attractive in sub-Saharan Africa.
Microcosting Analysis of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma Treatment in Malawi
MS Painschab, RE Kohler, E Kasonkanji, T Zuze, B Kaimila, R Nyasosela, R Nyirenda, R Krysiak, S Gopal
Journal of Global Oncology
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PURPOSE: To describe the cost of treating diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in Malawi under the following circumstances: (1) palliation only, (2) first-line cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP), (3) salvage etoposide, ifosfamide, and cisplatin (EPIC), and (4) salvage gemcitabine and oxaliplatin (GEMOX).
METHODS: We conducted a microcosting analysis from the health system perspective in the context of a prospective cohort study at a national teaching hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi. Clinical outcomes data were derived from previously published literature from the cohort. Cost data were collected for treatment and 2-year follow-up, reflecting costs incurred by the research institution or referral hospital for goods and services. Costs were collected in Malawian kwacha, inflated and converted to 2017 US dollars.
RESULTS: On a per-patient basis, palliative care alone cost $728 per person. Total costs for first-line treatment with CHOP chemotherapy was $1,844, of which chemotherapy drugs made up 15%. Separate salvage EPIC and GEMOX cost $2,597 and $3,176, respectively. Chemotherapy drugs accounted for 30% of EPIC and 47% of GEMOX.
CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this is among the first published efforts to characterize detailed costs of cancer treatment in sub-Saharan Africa. The per-patient cost of first-line treatment of DLBCL in Malawi is low relative to high-income countries, suggesting that investments in fixed-duration, curative-intent DLBCL treatment may be attractive in sub-Saharan Africa. Salvage treatment of relapsed/refractory DLBCL costs much more than first-line therapy. Formal cost-effectiveness modeling for CHOP and salvage treatment in the Malawian and other low-resource settings is needed to inform decision makers about optimal use of resources for cancer treatment.