Objectives: Leukemia, together with lymphoma and multiple myeloma, are hematological malignancies, malignancies of the blood-forming organs. There are four major types of leukemia: acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). There is a growing amount of literature of the health economic aspects of leukemia. However, no comprehensive review is yet performed on the health economic evidence for the disease. Hence, our aim was to review and analyze the existing literature on economic evaluations of the different types of leukemia.
Methods: A systematic literature search used electronic databases to identify published cost analyses and economic evaluations of leukemia treatments. After reviewing all identified studies, sixty studies were considered relevant for the purpose of the review.
Results: The identified studies were published after 1990, with a few exceptions. Many of the identified economic evaluations in leukemia, particularly for ALL and AML, may be defined as cost-minimization analyses, where only the costs of different treatment strategies are compared. In CML, a new treatment, imatinib, was introduced in 2001 and several cost-effectiveness analyses have since then been conducted comparing imatinib with previous first line treatments.
Conclusions: This review indicates that there is a shortage of cost-effectiveness information in leukemia. The introduction of new therapies will stress the need for new economic evaluations in this group of diseases. More information about the total costs, that is, including indirect costs, and quality of life effects would be valuable in future evaluations in leukemia.