Real-world cost-effectiveness in chronic myeloid leukemia: the price of success during four decades of development from non-targeted treatment to imatinib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Imatinib has revolutionized the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). We evaluated clinical outcome and cost-effectiveness, using Swedish registry data based on patients with CML diagnosed 1973-2008. Outcome from three time periods (I: 1973-1979; II: 1991-1997; III: 2002-2008) associated with symptomatic treatment, interferon-alpha/stem cell transplant and implementation of imatinib, respectively, were compared and a lifetime cost-effectiveness model developed. Survival data from population registries, estimated resource use from clinical practice and quality of life estimates were employed. Substantial health gains were noted over time, paralleled by increased treatment costs. Median survival was 1.9, 4.0 and 13 years during the respective time periods. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) between periods III and II was (sic)52 700 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. An estimated 80% price reduction of imatinib, related to patent expiry, would reduce this ICER to (sic)22 700. Our data from four decades reveal dramatically improved survival in CML, paralleled by ICER levels generally accepted by health authorities.


  • Lotta Ohm
  • Adam Lundqvist
  • Paul Dickman
  • Martin Hoglund
  • Ulf Persson
  • Leif Stenke
  • Katarina Steen Carlsson
  • Magnus Bjorkholm
External organisations
  • IHE – The Swedish Institute for Health Economics
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy


  • Chronic myeloid leukemia, survival, population-based, costs, imatinib, lifetime simulation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1385-1391
JournalLeukemia & Lymphoma
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch