Comparison of Time to Next Treatment, Health Care Resource Utilization, and Costs in Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Initiated on Front-line Ibrutinib or Chemoimmunotherapy


Studies assessing ibrutinib’s economic burden versus chemoimmunotherapy (CIT) focused on pharmacy costs but not medical costs. This study compared time to next treatment (TTNT), health care resource utilization (HRU), and total direct costs among patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) initiating front-line ibrutinib single agent (Ibr) or CIT.


Optum Clinformatics Extended DataMart De-Identified Databases were used to identify adults with ≥ 2 claims with a CLL diagnosis initiating front-line Ibr or CIT from February 12, 2014 to June 30, 2017. Inverse probability of treatment weighting was used to control for potential differences in baseline characteristics between the Ibr and CIT cohorts. Two periods were considered: entire front-line therapy (until initiation of second-line therapy) and first 6 months of front-line therapy. Comparisons with a subgroup of CIT patients initiating bendamustine/rituximab (BR) were also conducted.


TTNT was significantly longer for Ibr (N = 322) relative to CIT (N = 839; hazard ratio, 0.54; P = .0163; Kaplan-Meier rates [24 months]: Ibr = 88.6%, CIT = 75.9%) and the subset of CIT patients treated with BR (N = 455; hazard ratio, 0.54; P = .0208; Kaplan-Meier rates [24 months]: Ibr = 89.0%, BR = 79.0%). During the entire front-line therapy, Ibr patients had significantly fewer monthly days with outpatient visits (rate ratio = 0.75; P = .0200). Ibrutinib’s higher pharmacy costs (mean monthly cost difference [MMCD] = $6,849; P < .0001) were offset by lower medical costs (MMCD = -$10,615; P < .0001), yielding net savings (MMCD = -$3,766; P < .0001) versus CIT. Ibr was associated with net savings (MMCD = -$5,569; P < .0001) versus BR. Cost savings and reductions in HRU were more pronounced during the first 6 months of front-line therapy.


During front-line CLL treatment, Ibr was associated with longer TTNT, fewer monthly days with outpatient visits, and net monthly total cost reduction versus CIT and BR.