Cost-effectiveness of denosumab for the prevention of skeletal-related events in patients with solid tumors and bone metastases in the United States

Alison Stopeck, Adam Brufsky, Lisa Kennedy, Sumi Bhatta, Debajyoti Bhowmik, Jacqueline Buchanan, Nicolas Despiegel, Guy Hechmati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Aims: Bone complications (also known as skeletal-related events [SREs]) pose significant health and financial burdens on patients with bone metastases. Denosumab demonstrated superiority over zoledronic acid in delaying the time to first SRE. This study examined the lifetime cost-effectiveness of denosumab vs zoledronic acid from both US payer and societal perspectives. Methods: This analysis used a lifetime Markov model and included patients with breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other solid tumors and bone metastases. The societal perspective included direct medical, direct non-medical, and indirect costs associated with denosumab and zoledronic acid; the payer perspective included direct medical costs only. Bone complication rates for each tumor type were estimated from three pivotal phase 3 studies and modified to reflect real-world incidence. Results: From a societal perspective, compared with zoledronic acid, denosumab use resulted in an incremental cost of $9,043, an incremental benefit of 0.128 quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), a lifetime cost per QALY of $70,730, and a net monetary benefit (NMB) of $10,135 in favor of denosumab. Direct drug costs for denosumab ($28,352) were higher than zoledronic acid/untreated ($578), but were offset by reduced costs associated with bone complications. From a payer perspective, denosumab use was associated with an incremental cost of $13,396, and an incremental benefit of 0.128 QALYs, for a cost of $104,778 per QALY and an NMB of $5,782 in favor of denosumab. Limitations: Some model inputs had limited information and, given that the results may be sensitive to changes in these inputs, our findings should be interpreted within the context of the data inputs and modeling assumptions used in the analysis. Conclusions: Denosumab is a cost-effective option to prevent bone complications in patients with solid tumors when considering both payer and broader societal perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of medical economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Cost-effectiveness analysis
  • bone metastases
  • denosumab
  • net monetary benefit
  • zoledronic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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