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Nelly Adel, PharmD, BCOP, BCPS
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Managing the Economic Impact of Advanced Pancreatic Cancer
Scott A. Soefje, PharmD, MBA, BCOP, FCCP
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Managing the Economic Impact of Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

Scott A. Soefje, PharmD, MBA, BCOP, FCCP
Pancreatic cancer is typically diagnosed in the late stage of the disease, making it the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. It is also one of the few cancers with an increasing incidence, particularly in the younger population. By 2030, it is expected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death. Patients with pancreatic cancer encounter monthly medical costs 15 times higher than those without, with costs highest in the later stages of the disease. Treatments for pancreatic cancer include surgery (available to fewer than 20% of newly diagnosed patients) and, for advanced disease, chemotherapy with gemcitabine with nab-paclitaxel or FOLFIRINOX, which can increase overall survival (OS) by a few months. Economic and outcome analyses of clinical data find no significant difference in OS between the 2 regimens, although FOLFIRINOX carries a much higher rate of serious adverse effects, limiting its use to patients with good performance status. In 2017, the FDA approved immunotherapy for patients with microsatellite instability–high or mismatch repair-deficient solid tumors, which occurs in approximately 1% of pancreatic cancer diagnoses. Several immunotherapies and targeted therapies are currently in clinical trials and may significantly alter the trajectory of the disease. However, they typically cost more than $100,000 per year, putting significant strain on payers. Thus, it is important that payers plan now for the potential arsenal of new treatments and identify opportunities to manage their utilization as well as patients with the disease to contain costs.
Am J Manag Care. 2019;25:-S0

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