177Lutetium-based peptide receptor radionuclide therapy for treating neuroendocrine tumours: a health technology assessment

Frønsdal KB, Lund UH, Skår Å, Lund Håheim L, Unhjem JF, Grøvan A, Stoinska-Schneider A, Hafstad E, Fure B, Juvet LK.
Record ID 32018000790
English, Norwegian
Original Title: PRRT-basert på Lutetium for behandling av nevroendokrin kreft
Authors' results and conclusions: Clinical effectiveness> We carried out a literature search for publications that included the combination of population (patients with neuroendocrine cancer) and intervention (177Lu-PRRT) without any restrictions in terms of study design, in the databases Cochrane library, Embase, HTA (CRD), MEDLINE, PubMed (NOT MEDLINE), Epistemonikos, SveMed+, Web of Science. Our assessment of clinical effectiveness, side-effects and adverse events is based on these nine studies, which include one RCT and eight observational studies including 1,200 participants in total. Overall, the evidential material is sparce and with low to moderate quality. Estimates on the effect of 177Lu-PRRT in terms of overall mortality and survival are uncertain, but number of deaths reported 20 months after randomisation in the one RCT included showed lower mortality in the intervention group (RR=0.52 with 95% CI 0.29-0.95). According to one of the observation studies, expected extended life-time could be between 40 and 72 months and depends on the type of NET. Moreover, preliminary results from the RCT indicated a higher percentage of progression-free patients 20 months after randomisation in the group treated with 177Lu-PRRT (MD=54.4% with 95% CI 43.1-65.7%). Tumour response rates assessed using the RECIST-criteria are likely to improve with 177Lu-PRRT compared to octreotide. Results from the RCT indicated that 18% of the patients treated with 177Lu-PRRT had partial or full remission compared to 3% in the control group (MD=15% with 95% CI 7.5-22.5%), a finding supported by all the three observational studies that had assessed this outcome. Few serious adverse events and side-effects were related to the intervention. Both in the RCT and in the observational studies the most prominent ones were related to the bone marrow and kidney functions. As the events were rare in the included studies, it is still uncertain to what extent 177Lu-PRRT causes myeloplastic syndrome and acute leukemia, but the risk might be around 1%. We have searched for ongoing studies in the registries ISRCTN and ClinicalTrials.gov. Most likely in the near future more evidence will be generated as at least 16 studies are ongoing. Many of them are planned to be completed within a few years, and among them are three RCTs comparing 177Lu-PRRT with sunitinib, everolimus and capecitabine / temozolomide. Safety: Hospitals carrying out treatments with 177Lu-PRRT must have procedures for the treatment and time for preparing and administrating the radiopharmaceutical. In addition to emit “curative” β-rays, 177Lu also emit potentially damaging γ (gamma)-rays, but these have lower radiation energy than γ (gamma)-rays emitted by 131I, that is already in use today. 177Lu has lower potentially harmful gamma-ray energy than 131I (iodine) that is already in use in Norwegian hospitals. Therefore, guidelines for handling 131I might as well be used for handling 177Lu. Provided that the Radiation Protection Regulations are followed, the use of 177Lu-DOTATATE is considered to be justified, as the expected benefit from the treatment should be taken into account in light of the potential harm radiation may cause for the patient, personnel, care givers, surroundings and the environment. Organisation: The organisational consequences of introducing 177Lu-PRRT into the Norwegian health care services are discussed based on the assessment elements on organisational issues from the mini-HTA template and the EUnetHTA HTA Core Model. The documentation base is from references identified through the literature search and the source has been the mini-HTA carried out by the University Hospital of Oslo (OUS) which was basis for a request to the South-East Regional Health Authority to introduce 177Lu-PRRT in OUS in addition to CarciNor (patient association). The neuroendocrine cancer patient group is relatively small and heterogenous, and the most challenging in terms of organisation is related to the clinical examination and diagnosis, and the selection of the patients suited for 177Lu-PRRT. Hospitals making the decision on whether patients show be offered the treatment or not, must have the necessary multidisciplinary and experience competence both in diagnosing and treating patients with this type cancer. It is likely that the most practical would be to have the decision making and the treatment at the same hospital. A centralization of examination, diagnosis and treatment (but not necessarily follow-up) towards only a few centres would therefore seem appropriate. Health economic evaluation: The cost-minimization analysis (CMA) includes costs related to different possible organisation alternatives in the country, as well as costs related to treating patients abroad. Based on information NIPH has received so far, it will not be possible to maintain in Norway the today’s practice of PRRT abroad in terms of prices and suppliers. The recent market approval of Lutathera®, and its status as orphan drug, will affect the use of radiopharmaceuticals in PRRT in Sweden and Denmark, which will be replaced by Lutathera®. In Norway as well, only Lutathera® will be allowed to use in this treatment. Data used in our evaluation are collected mainly from university hospitals in Norway where 177Lu-PRRT is planned to be established, i.e. Oslo University Hospital, Haukeland University Hospital (Bergen), St. Olavs Hospital and the University Hospital of North Norway, as well as from the foreign offices of the Regional Health Authorities and Uppsala University Hospital. Estimated costs were dependent on organisation and the price of Lutathera®. We have used the list price and two possible discounts, i.e. 25% and 50% in our evaluation. The mean cost per patient per year when 177Lu-PRRT is carried out in Norway is estimated between 492,000 and 870,000 NOK, while the mean cost is estimated between 612,000 and 938,000 NOK if patients are treated abroad. Total costs for establishing 177Lu-PRRT in Norway is estimated between 25,928,000 and 44,763,000 NOK the first year, and between 24,595,000 and 43,518, 000 NOK the following years. Total costs for treatment abroad is estimated between 26,295,000 and 40,322,000 NOK per year, as it is likely that an increased number of Norwegian patients will have access to the treatment if established in Norway. Total costs for treating patients abroad, where 177Lu-DOTATATE has been prepared so far in own hotlab (i.e. not used Lutathera®) is estimated to 18,653,000 NOK, while the mean cost is estimated to 434,000 NOK per patient per year. Ethics: We have chosen to discuss ethical questions we think might be relevant in this context, based on a series of selected questions (check-list) presented in our method handbook. Additionally, we have retrieved information from the literature we considered useful to shed light on ethical aspects related to the type of treatment assessed in this report. In general there are few ethical challenges related to the treatment of patients with neuroendocrine cancer with 177Lu-PRRT, which appear to be rather non-controversial. However, due to the risks for the patient and the surroundings related to the treatment, one should consider the trade-off between the possible benefit in terms of extended life-time and possibly better quality of life, against possible injuries or side-effects PRRT may cause. Health carers are therefore ought to explain the issue, so the patient can take an informed decision about his/her treatment. The treatment is expensive and might therefore challenge the principle of equal use of limited health care resources, although the number of eligible patients per year is low. On the other hand, it is not often we encounter a palliative cancer treatment with relatively few side-effects, which may extend life-time to up to three years. Discussion: Differences in total costs between establishing 177Lu-PRRT in Norway and 177Lu-PRRT abroad are mainly due to the assumption of a higher patient volume when the treatment is established in Norway. The most important cost-driver is the high price of the radiopharmceutical both in the case of establishment of 177Lu-PRRT in Norway and in the case where the patients are treated abroad. Currently, it is not known what the final price after price negociations will be, and we are not aware of any ongoing negociation(s). Therefore, prices we have been operating with in our analyses include theoretical levels of discounts. Nevertheless, the price of the radiopharmaceutical will probably increase considerably in the future compared with the price today, where Lutathera® is not being used, and thereby increase the total costs for the treatment regardless of localisation. It will be crucial for the validity of this economic evaluation that the purchase price of Lutathera® in Norway will be within the same range as in Sweden and/or Denmark, as larger differences in price will most likely affect the decision on establishing 177Lu-PRRT at the national level in Norway. 177Lu-PRRT and other targeted radionuclide treatments are within an area where a lot research is going on, and most likely many of these radiopharmaceuticals will be developed in the future. This type of treatment should therefore be seen in a larger context considering beneficial synergy effects in terms of establishing and further developing nuclear medical diagnostics and treatments.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2018
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Full HTA
Country: Norway
MeSH Terms
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors
  • Lutetium
  • Somatostatin
  • Radioisotopes
  • Norway
  • neuroendocrine cancer
  • peptide receptor radionuclide therapy
  • 177Lutetium
  • 177-Lutetium
  • Lu-177
  • Lutetium-177 DOTATATE
  • somatostatin analogue
  • radioactively labeled somatostatin analogue
Organisation Name: Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Contact Address: P.O. Box 222 Skoyen, N-0123, Oslo
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.