BACKGROUND: Widespread implementation of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) and targeted therapies for metastatic melanoma has led to a decline in melanoma-related mortality but increased healthcare costs. We aimed to determine how healthcare utilization varied by systemic, non-adjuvant melanoma treatment from 2016 to 2020.PATIENTS AND METHODS: Adults with presumed stage IV metastatic melanoma receiving systemic therapy from 2016 to 2020 were identified in Optum, a nationwide commercial claims database. Treatment groups were nivolumab, pembrolizumab, ipilimumab+nivolumab (combination-ICI), or BRAF+MEK inhibitor (BRAFi+MEKi) therapy. Outcomes included hospitalizations, days hospitalized, emergency room (ER) visits, outpatient visits, and healthcare costs per patient per month (pppm). Multivariable regression models were used to analyze whether cost and utilization outcomes varied by treatment group, with nivolumab as reference.RESULTS: Among 2018 adult patients with metastatic melanoma identified, mean (SD) age was 67 (15) years. From 2016 to 2020, nivolumab surpassed pembrolizumab as the most prescribed systemic melanoma therapy while combination-ICI and BRAFi+MEKi therapies remained stable. Relative to nivolumab, all other therapies were associated with increased total healthcare costs (combination-ICI: beta = $47 600 pppm, 95%CI $42 200-$53 100; BRAFi+MEKi: beta = $3810, 95%CI $365-$7260; pembrolizumab: beta = $6450, 95%CI $4420-$8480). Combination-ICI and BRAFi+MEKi therapies were associated with more inpatient hospital days.CONCLUSIONS: Amid the evolving landscape of systemic therapy for advanced melanoma, nivolumab monotherapy emerged as the most used and least costly systemic treatment from 2016 to 2020. Its sharp increase in use in 2018 and lower costs relative to pembrolizumab may in part be due to earlier adoption of less frequent dosing intervals.
View details for DOI 10.1093/oncolo/oyac219
View details for PubMedID 36302223