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Modeling of clinical-effectiveness in a cost-effectiveness analysis typically involves some form of partitioned survival or Markov decision-analytic modeling. The health states progression-free, progression and death and the transitions between them are frequently of interest. With partitioned survival, progression is not modeled directly as a state; instead, time in that state is derived from the difference in area between the overall survival and the progression-free survival curves. With Markov decision-analytic modeling, a priori assumptions are often made with regard to the transitions rather than using the individual patient data directly to model them. This article compares a multi-state modeling survival regression approach to these two common methods. As a case study, we use a trial comparing rituximab in combination with fludarabine and cyclophosphamide v. fludarabine and cyclophosphamide alone for the first-line treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. We calculated mean Life Years and QALYs that involved extrapolation of survival outcomes in the trial. We adapted an existing multi-state modeling approach to incorporate parametric distributions for transition hazards, to allow extrapolation. The comparison showed that, due to the different assumptions used in the different approaches, a discrepancy in results was evident. The partitioned survival and Markov decision-analytic modeling deemed the treatment cost-effective with ICERs of just over £16,000 and £13,000, respectively. However, the results with the multi-state modeling were less conclusive, with an ICER of just over £29,000. This work has illustrated that it is imperative to check whether assumptions are realistic, as different model choices can influence clinical and cost-effectiveness results.

Original publication




Journal article


Medical Decision Making


SAGE Publications

Publication Date





427 - 439