Study Reveals the Cost of Skin Side Effects

CURE, Supplement 2012, Volume 11, Issue 0

Skin-related side effects can increase cancer expenses by almost $2,000.

Skin-related side effects from certain targeted drugs can increase cancer expenses by a median cost of almost $2,000 per patient, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

The researchers monitored the expenditures of 132 patients treated at its dermatology clinic between 2005 and 2008 for skin reactions associated with some of the newer targeted anticancer therapies such as Nexavar (sorafenib), which can cause hand and foot lesions, and Vecitibix (panitumumab), which can trigger painful acne. Other potential side effects include dry skin and nail infections.

The overall median costs associated with treating these dermatologic toxicities, including lab work and diagnostic testing, clinic visits, medications and therapy, was $1,920 per patient. Nexavar proved to be the most costly in overall median costs at $2,509 per patient, while Gleevec (imatinib) was the least costly at $1,263 per patient.

The study, published in the December 2011 edition of Archives of Dermatology, revealed the importance of examining the additional costs of adverse skin reactions when considering the overall financial burden of cancer patients.