Cetuximab for the first-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.

C. Meads*, J. Round, S. Tubeuf, D. Moore, M. Pennant, S. Bayliss

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    46 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper presents a summary of the evidence review group (ERG) report into the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of cetuximab for the first-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), in accordance with the licensed indication, based upon the manufacturer's submission to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as part of the single technology appraisal process. The ERG project ran between 22 January 2008 and 4 November 2008. The clinical evidence came from two unpublished randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of cetuximab plus chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone in the first-line treatment of mCRC. A third RCT submitted later compared cetuximab with irinotecan in combination with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and folinic acid (FA) and cetuximab with oxaliplatin in combination with 5-FU and FA in patients with mCRC with liver metastases only. No published economic evaluations of cetuximab for first-line chemotherapy in mCRC were identified in the submission. A de novo model examined the cost-effectiveness of cetuximab in patients with mCRC that was epidermal growth factor receptor positive, k-ras wild type and with liver metastases. The main source of clinical effectiveness evidence came from the first two RCTs which provided follow up information for 1-2 years. Secondary information was used to estimate survival for a further 22 years. The model focused on the patients for whom the treatment had been licensed. This limited the applicability of the model to the NHS setting in which patients would be a mixture of k-ras wild type and mutations and also a mixture of patients with liver metastases and other metastases. The difference in progression-free survival for the two trials was between 0.5 to 1.2 months over a 7-10 month period. Eight months' treatment with cetuximab, given as an initial loading dose and then weekly until progression, would cost around 22,932 pounds for an average man and 18,427 pounds for an average woman. It is uncertain whether this constitutes good value for money. The guidance issued by NICE on 25 September 2008 stated that cetuximab was not recommended for the first-line treatment of mCRC and people currently receiving cetuximab for the first-line treatment of mCRC should have the option to continue treatment until they and their clinicians consider it appropriate to stop.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalHealth Technology Assessment
    Issue numberSuppl 1
    Publication statusPublished - May 2010

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)


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