Trends in survival and costs in metastatic melanoma in the era of novel targeted and immunotherapeutic drugs

M G Franken*, B Leeneman, M J B Aarts, A C J van Akkooi, F W P J van den Berkmortel, M J Boers-Sonderen, A J M van den Eertwegh, J W B de Groot, G A P Hospers, E Kapiteijn, D Piersma, R S van Rijn, K P M Suijkerbuijk, A A M van der Veldt, H M Westgeest, M W J M Wouters, J B A G Haanen, C A Uyl-de Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to evaluate trends in survival and health care costs in metastatic melanoma in the era of targeted and immunotherapeutic drugs.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data on survival and health care resource use were retrieved from the Dutch Melanoma Treatment Registry. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate overall survival. Health care costs and budget impact were computed by applying unit costs to individual patient resource use. All outcomes were stratified by year of diagnosis.

RESULTS: Baseline characteristics were balanced across cohort years. The percentage of patients receiving systemic treatment increased from 73% in 2013 to 90% in 2018. Patients received on average 1.85 [standard deviation (SD): 1.14] lines of treatment and 41% of patients received at least two lines of treatment. Median survival increased from 11.8 months in 2013 [95% confidence interval (CI): 10.7-13.7 months] to 21.1 months in 2018 (95% CI: 18.2 months-not reached). Total mean costs were €100 330 (SD: €103 699); systemic treatments accounted for 84% of the total costs. Costs for patients who received systemic treatment [€118 905 (SD: €104 166)] remained reasonably stable over the years even after the introduction of additional (combination of) novel drugs. From mid-2013 to 2018, the total budget impact for all patients was €452.79 million.

CONCLUSION: Our study shows a gain in survival in the era of novel targeted and immunotherapeutic drugs. These novel drugs came, however, along with substantial health care costs. Further insights into the cost-effectiveness of the novel drugs are crucial for ensuring value for money in the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100320
Number of pages8
JournalESMO Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • melanoma
  • survival
  • costs
  • targeted drugs
  • immunotherapeutic drugs

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