Subcutaneous Therapy for Gastric Cancer Results in Time Savings, Reduced Costs


In patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive metastatic gastric cancer, subcutaneous administration of a common therapy results in significant time savings for health care providers as well as reduced costs.

A group of Spanish researchers conducted a study to describe health care professional and patient time and related costs associated with trastuzumab intravenous infusion and subcutaneous formulations in patients with HER2-psoitive gastric and breast cancer. The prospective, observational study recorded the active time that providers expended on trastuzumab-related tasks and calculated provider time as the mean sum of tasks over 154 administrations. Staff costs were calculated using salaries, and direct/indirect costs were recorded as well.

Results of the study were published in Clinical and Translational Oncology (December 2017;19[12]:1454-1461).

A total of 159 patients received intravenous infusion therapy, while the remaining 148 patients received subcutaneous therapy. Researchers found that subcutaneous administration was associated with reduced active provider time (average time, 13.2 vs 27.2 minutes for intravenous infusion, respectively) and reduced time spent in the treatment room.

In the preparation area, subcutaneous administration resulted in reduced material preparation time (3.9 vs 6.0 minutes, respectively) and drug reconstitution time (0 vs 5.9 minutes, respectively).


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Additionally, researchers found that subcutaneous administration for 18 cycles for one patient was estimated to save $143.39 in provider time costs, $132.72 in consumables, and $879.31 in the cost of trastuzumab. In terms of indirect costs, subcutaneous administration reduced per-patient costs for an 18-cycle treatment by $180.26 and provided an overall cost savings (direct and indirect) of $1335.68.

Researchers concluded that subcutaneous administration of trastuzumab for HER2-positive gastric and breast cancer could reduce provider and patient time, resulting in improved patient quality of life and increased cost savings for the health care system.—Zachary Bessette