Association Between Oral Targeted Cancer Drug Net Health Benefit, Uptake, and Spending



Targeted cancer drugs (TCDs) have revolutionized oncology but vary in clinical benefit and patient out-out-pocket (OOP) costs. The ASCO Value Framework uses survival, toxicity, and symptom palliation data to quantify the net health benefit (NHB) of cancer drugs. We evaluated associations between NHB, uptake, and spending on oral TCDs.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients aged 18-64 years with an incident oral TCD pharmacy claim in 2012-2020 in a nationwide de-identified commercial claims dataset. TCDs were categorized as having high (>60), medium (40-60), and low (<40) NHB scores. We plotted the uptake of TCDs by NHB category and used standard descriptive statistics to evaluate patient OOP and total spending. Generalized linear models evaluated the relationship between spending and TCD NHB, adjusted for cancer indication.


We included 8,524 patients with incident claims for eight oral TCDs with nine first-line indications in advanced melanoma, breast, lung, and pancreatic cancer. Medium- and high-NHB TCDs accounted for most TCD prescriptions. Median OOP spending was $18.78 for the first 28-day TCD supply (IQR $0.00-$87.57); 45% of patients paid $0 OOP. Median total spending was $10,118.79 (IQR $6,365.95-$10,600.37) for an incident 28-day TCD supply. Total spending increased $1,083.56 for each 10-point increase in NHB score (95% CI $1,050.27-$1,116.84, p <.01 for H0=$0).


Low-NHB TCDs were prescribed less frequently than medium- and high-NHB TCDs. Total spending on oral TCDs was high and positively associated with NHB. Commercially insured patients were largely shielded from high OOP spending on oral TCDs.

The full study can be viewed at  JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Lau-Min, K. S., Wu, Y., Rochester, S., Bekelman, J. E., Kanter, G. P., & Getz, K. D. (2024). Association between oral targeted cancer drug net health benefit, uptake, and spending. JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, djae110.

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