Pharmacoeconomic issues in head and neck oncology

Jonas A. De Souza, Gilberto De Lima Lopes, Ezra E.W. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Despite medical advances, the global incidence, morbidity and mortality associated with head and neck cancer remain high. Pharmacoeconomic analyses of chemotherapeutic options commonly used by head and neck oncologists are reviewed in context with current clinical practice. RECENT FINDINGS: From the British health system perspective, cetuximab with radiotherapy in locally advanced head and neck was found to be cost-effective compared to single modality radiotherapy in patients with a good performance status, and in whom platinum agents are contraindicated. Induction chemotherapy with the three-drug regimen docetaxel, cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil is considered cost-effective when compared to the doublet cisplatin-5-fluorouracil from the British and Italian perspectives. However, it is unclear whether induction chemotherapy per se is effective when compared to chemoradiotherapy. Cetuximab with chemotherapy is not recommended from a British health perspective for patients with metastatic/recurrent disease, whereas it is the preferred regimen in commonly used guidelines in the US, where economic evaluations are not incorporated in the drug approval process. SUMMARY: The critical assessment and utilization of pharmacoeconomic evaluations, always in context with current clinical practice, should be further performed and promoted in head and neck oncology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-217
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2013


  • cost of cancer care
  • head and neck cancer
  • pharmacoeconomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Pharmacoeconomic issues in head and neck oncology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this