Economic implications of the modern treatment paradigm of glioblastoma: an analysis of global cost estimates and their utility for cost assessment

Nicholas J. Goel, Cylaina E. Bird, William H. Hicks, Kalil G. Abdullah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Introduction: Glioblastoma is the most common primary brain tumor in adults. Standard of care includes maximal surgical resection of the tumor followed by concurrent chemotherapy and radiation. The treatment of glioblastoma must account for an increased disease severity and treatment intensity compared to other cancers which place a significant cost burden on the patient and health system. Cost assessments of glioblastoma treatment have been sparse in comparison to other solid cancer subtypes. This study evaluates all currently available cost literature with an emphasis on the modern treatment paradigm to properly assess the economic implications of this disease. Methods: A critical review of 21 studies from 13 different countries measuring direct costs related to glioblastoma management was performed. Evaluated data included itemized costs, total costs of treatment regimens from diagnosis until death, the cost of second-line care after recurrence, and the incremental costs and cost-effectiveness of emerging therapies. Results: The average cost of a craniotomy was $10,042 across studies. Imaging for the duration of glioblastoma care had a mean cost of $2,788 ± 3,719. Studies examined different combinations of treatment modalities. Utilization of the modern treatment paradigm led to survival of 16.3 months across studies and had a mean cost of $62,602. Surgery for the recurrent disease had an average cost of $27,442 ± 18,992. Limitations and conclusions: Direct cost estimates for glioblastoma varied substantially between institutions and countries and often failed to uniformly describe direct cost estimates associated with care for glioblastoma. The limitations of these studies make a true economic assessment of standards of care, costs of recurrence, and incremental costs associated with adjunctive therapy uncertain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1018-1024
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Cost-effective analysis
  • cost assessment
  • economics
  • glioblastoma
  • malignant glioma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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