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Original article

Vol. 153 No. 9 (2023)

Real-world expenditures and survival time after CAR-T treatment for large B-cell lymphoma in Switzerland: a retrospective study using insurance claims data

  • Maria Trottmann
  • Eva Blozik
  • Marcel Hilbig
  • Daniel LoVerdi
  • Marcello Pedruzzi
  • Tina Scherer
  • Martina Weiss
  • Mark Pletscher
  • Niklaus Meier
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2023;153:s3441


AIM OF THE STUDY: Newly approved therapies with high and uncertain budget impact pose challenges to public health care systems worldwide. One recent example is chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapies for adults with large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL). This study’s primary objective is to examine the expenditures of Swiss public payers before, during, and after CAR-T cell therapy in patients with LBCL aged ≥30 years. Its secondary objective is to analyse 24-month survival rates.

METHODS: This retrospective observational data analysis used the administrative databases of the Swiss health insurers Concordia, CSS, Groupe Mutuel, Helsana, ÖKK, Sanitas, SWICA, Sympany, and Visana. These health insurers or groups provide mandatory health insurance to approximately 78% of Swiss residents in 2021. Using the relevant procedure codes, we identified CAR-T therapies administered between October 2018 (first approval) and June 2021 (treatment identification cut-off). Patients aged <30 years were excluded because they might be treated for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Expenditures were categorised as pre-infusion, peri-infusion (excluding CAR-T therapy acquisition costs), and post-infusion based on the time of service provision. Overall survival rates were estimated using the Kaplan–Meier method.

RESULTS: This study identified 81 patients aged ≥30 years, with a median follow-up period for censored observations of 27 months (interquartile range: 21–31 months). The median age group was 70–74, and 60% of patients were male. Mean healthcare expenditures per patient per month amounted to CHF 8,115–22,564 pre-infusion, CHF 38,490 peri-infusion, and CHF 5,068–11,342 post-infusion. For the total peri- and post-infusion period (i.e. 1-month before infusion to 23 months after infusion), mean healthcare expenditures amounted to CHF 215,737. The 24-month overall survival rate was 48% (95% confidence interval: 38–61%).

CONCLUSIONS: Healthcare expenditures after CAR-T cell infusion are relatively high compared to previous estimates of patients with LBCL in the last year of treatment. Further research is needed to understand the drivers behind these post-infusion expenditures. Especially, clinical data should be used to assess the time until disease progression. The analysis of 24-month overall survival is consistent with results from the pivotal trials. Our findings stress the importance of post-approval studies to monitor real-world expenditures and outcomes related to innovative therapies.


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