Introduction Comparison of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of three first-line EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) would improve patients' clinical benefits and save costs. Using realworld data, this study attempted to directly compare the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of first-line afatinib, erlotinib, and gefitinib. Methods During May 2011-December 2017, all patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) visiting a tertiary center were invited to fill out the EuroQol five-dimension (EQ-5D) questionnaires and World Health Organization Quality of Life, brief version (WHOQOL-BREF), and received follow-ups for survival and direct medical costs. A total of 379 patients with EGFR mutation-positive advanced NSCLC under first-line TKIs were enrolled for analysis. After propensity score matching for the patients receiving afatinib (n = 48), erlotinib (n = 48), and gefitinib (n = 96), we conducted the study from the payers' perspective with a lifelong time horizon. Results Patients receiving afatinib had the worst lifetime psychometric scores, whereas the differences in quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE) were modest. Considering 3 treatments together, afatinib was dominated by erlotinib. Erlotinib had an incremental cost-effectiveness of US$17,960/life year and US$12,782/QALY compared with gefitinib. Acceptability curves showed that erlotinib had 58.6% and 78.9% probabilities of being cost-effective given a threshold of 1 Taiwanese per capita GDP per life year and QALY, respectively. Conclusion Erlotinib appeared to be cost-effective. Lifetime psychometric scores may provide additional information for effectiveness evaluation.
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