The Economic Burden of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in Patients with Later Lines: Findings from a Real-World Analysis in Italy

Introduction: Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a hematopoietic myeloproliferative disorder that accounts for 20% of all leukemias of adults. The introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) (imatinib, bosutinib, dasatinib, nilotinib, ponatinib) has yielded significant benefits for patients with CML in terms of survival and quality of life. This real-world analysis evaluated the economic burden for managing patients with CML in 2nd or ≥ 3rd TKI lines in Italian settings of clinical practice. Methods: A retrospective observational analysis was performed exploiting the administrative databases of a sample of entities covering around 15 million inhabitants. From 2015 to 2018, the study included adult patients with at least one prescription for TKIs, (and for some TKI with at least one hospitalization discharge diagnosis for CML, or at least one prescription for BCR-ABL examination). The index date was the first TKI prescription. Healthcare resource consumption and costs for patients with CML in 2nd and ≥ 3rd line treatment with TKIs were analyzed for drug prescriptions, hospitalizations, specialist visits, and diagnostic services. Results: In total 635 patients were included, 491 in 2nd line and 144 in 3rd line with TKIs. Dasatinib was the most frequently prescribed drug in 2nd line (28.9%) and imatinib in later lines (26.4%). With progressing lines of treatment, healthcare consumption showed a trend towards increased non-TKI prescriptions per patient (8 for 2nd line and 9.7 for ≥ 3rd line). The management of patients with CML in later lines resulted in increased overall healthcare burden, with hospitalizations accounting for about half of total expenditure, whatever the treatment line and type of TKI. Conclusions: This analysis in Italian real-life clinical practice reported economic expenditure for patients with CML in 2nd or ≥ 3rd lines with TKIs, mostly burdened by hospitalizations. Such clinical complexity suggests that further efforts are needed to improve the therapeutic management of later lines of CML.