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1.  Cost-Benefit Analysis of Endocrine Therapy in the Adjuvant Setting for Postmenopausal Patients with Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer, Based on Survival Data and Future Prices for Generic Drugs in the Context of the German Health Care System 
Breast Care  2011;6(5):381-389.
Background
Cost-effectiveness analyses have focused on aromatase inhibitors (AIs), but the results are inconsistent and disease-free survival has often been extrapolated to overall survival. The present study calculates the cost-effectiveness of 5 years of letrozole versus tamoxifen versus anastrozole in the context of the German health care system, using survival data from the Breast International Group (BIG) 1–98 study and the Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination (ATAC) study and generic prices.
Materials and Methods
A hybrid model was developed that incorporates recurrence rates, overall survival, treatment costs and treatment-associated adverse events and the resulting costs. The basic assumption was that generic anastrozole would lead to a price reduction to 75% of the original price. Further analyses were carried out with 50% and 25% of the original prices for anastrozole and letrozole.
Results
The cost-benefit model showed a gain of 0.3124 or 0.0659 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for letrozole or anastrozole. Incremental costs of € 29,375.15/QALY for letrozole (100% of original price) were calculated and € 94,648.03/QALY for anastrozole (75% of original price). Marked increases in cost-effectiveness are observed with further decreases in price (anastrozole: 50% price € 54,715.17/QALY, 25% price € 14,779.57/QALY; letrozole 75% price € 20,988.59/QALY, 50% price € 12,602.03/QALY, 25% price € 4,215.46/QALY).
Conclusion
The present model including the inverse probability of censoring weighted analysis (IPCW) for letrozole and generic prices for both AIs shows that letrozole is cost effective.
doi:10.1159/000333118
PMCID: PMC3357170  PMID: 22619649
Letrozole; Anastrozole; Tamoxifen; Cost-effectiveness; QALY; BIG 1–98; ATAC
2.  Invasive Breast Cancer: Recognition of Molecular Subtypes 
Breast Care  2011;6(4):258-264.
Summary
Molecular profiling has fundamentally changed our understanding of breast cancer in the last 10 years, by creating a new taxonomy of breast cancers based on the expression patterns of so-called ‘intrinsic genes’. Hierarchical clustering analyses performed on microarray-based gene expression profiles of breast cancers defined distinct breast cancer subgroups (luminal type A/B, HER2-enriched type, basal-like type). Since the initial landmark study by Perou et al., the concept of intrinsic breast cancer subtypes has been corroborated and expanded by several independent research groups. Further studies revealed individual properties of the intrinsic subgroups regarding the clinical course and the responsiveness to chemotherapy. The new gene expression profile-based taxonomy of breast cancer has been enthusiastically embraced by the scientific community and hailed as a major breakthrough on the way to individually tailored therapies. However, validation of the gene signatures in prospective studies is necessary before accepting these new technologies in daily clinical practice. In this review, the current data regarding the intrinsic subtypes and the associated clinical implications as well as the methodology of molecular profiling and possible use of immunohistochemistry in identifying intrinsic subtypes are discussed.
doi:10.1159/000331339
PMCID: PMC3225209  PMID: 22135623
Invasive breast cancer; Molecular subtypes; Luminal type; Basal type; HER2
3.  Re-Challenging Taxanes in Recurrent Breast Cancer in Patients Treated with (Neo-)Adjuvant Taxane-Based Therapy 
Breast Care  2011;6(4):279-283.
Summary
Background: Docetaxel and paclitaxel are among the most active substances for the treatment of breast cancer. As both drugs are used today in adjuvant regimens, efficacy data from pivotal trials in the metastatic setting in taxane-naive populations cannot reliably be used as references. Patients and Methods: The Taxane Re-Challenge Cohort Study identified participants from 6 prospective (neo-)adjuvant taxane-based studies with recurrent disease and collected data on their subsequent treatment. Out of 381 recurrent patients, 106 (27.8%) were re-challenged with a taxane-based treatment as first- or later-line therapy for recurrent disease. Results: Taxanes were used as first-line therapy in 74 patients and showed a response rate of 48.6% (including complete responses in 27.0%). The response rate was dependent on the disease-free interval (<1 year: 34.8%; 1-2 years: 42.9%; >2 years: 63.3%; p = 0.04) and visceral metastasis (present: 62.5%; not present 32.4%; p = 0.01). Patients without visceral metastasis and with a disease-free interval of >2 years achieved the longest overall survival. Hormone and HER2 receptor status were not predictive; however, triple-negative tumors responded in 50.0%. The overall response rate of later-line taxane-based treatment was 28.2%. Conclusion: Re-challenging taxanes appears to be effective and therefore represents a reasonable option in this population.
doi:10.1159/000330946
PMCID: PMC3225212  PMID: 22164126
Docetaxel; Paclitaxel; Adjuvant; Recurrent breast cancer
4.  Are Certified Breast Centers Cost-Effective? 
Breast Care  2009;4(4):245-250.
Summary
The German health care system has entered an era of specialist centers and certification. Hospitals are required to introduce quality management with external monitoring, refining and improving their quality of treatment. These statutory requirements can only be met through specialization, centralization, and establishing centers and networks with internal and external interdisciplinary collaboration. The breast centers certified according to the criteria of the German Cancer Society (DKG) and German Society for Mastology (DGS) are pioneers here. Simultaneously, there are increasing demands for more cost-effective medical services despite limited resources – making economic analysis of health care provision necessary. Few economic studies of the centers and certification system have been conducted, however. General long-term quality data, particularly for results, are not yet available from certified breast centers. At present, a certified breast center is not itself a proven independent prognostic parameter for treatment results. However, the individual criteria required for breast center certification show a significant positive influence on clinical efficacy. Certified breast centers involve substantial extra costs that are not reimbursed by funding bodies, so the slightest potential benefit for patients from certified centers already appears cost-effective. When the actual costs, currently usually subsidized by other departments, are considered, it is unclear whether certified breast centers remain cost-effective.
doi:10.1159/000229190
PMCID: PMC2941653  PMID: 20877662
Breast center; Breast cancer; Certification; Accreditation; Cost-effectiveness analysis

Results 1-4 (4)