Background: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have demonstrated that low-dose direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), including rivaroxaban and apixaban, may help reduce the incidence of cancer-associated venous thromboembolism (VTE).
Methods: A cost-utility analysis was performed from the health sector perspective using a Markov state-transition model in patients with cancer who are at intermediate-to-high risk for VTE. Transition probability, relative risk, cost, and utility inputs were obtained from a meta-analysis of the RCTs and relevant epidemiology studies. Differences in cost, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) per patient were calculated over a lifetime horizon. One-way, probabilistic, and scenario sensitivity analyses were conducted.
Results: In patients with cancer at intermediate-to-high risk for VTE, treatment with low-dose DOAC thromboprophylaxis for 6 months, compared with placebo, was associated with 32 per 1000 fewer VTE and 11 per 1000 more major bleeding episodes over a lifetime. The incremental cost and QALY increases were $1445 and 0.12, respectively, with an ICER of $11,947 per QALY gained. Key drivers of ICER variations included the relative risks of VTE and bleeding as well as drug cost. This strategy was 94% cost effective at the threshold of $50,000 per QALY. The selection of patients with Khorana scores ≥3 yielded the greatest value, with an ICER of $5794 per QALY gained.
Conclusions: Low-dose DOAC thromboprophylaxis for 6 months appears to be cost-effective in patients with cancer who are at intermediate-to-high risk for VTE. The implementation of this strategy in patients with Khorana scores ≥3 may lead to the highest cost-benefit ratio.