Has the development of cancer biomarkers to guide treatment improved health outcomes?
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEuropean Journal of Health Economics. 2021, 22, 789-810. 10.1007/s10198-021-01290-4
During the last decade, testing the patient’s biomarker status prior to the administration of corresponding co-dependent therapies has been emerging in clinical practice. These biomarker-guided therapies have promoted the promise of more personalized medicine, with the prescription of the right treatment to the right patient, while avoiding expensive ineffective drugs and adverse drug reactions. Cancer treatments have especially taken advantage of this technology. We assess how the introduction of biomarker tests guiding cancer therapy have affected the premature mortality and survival of cancer patients in Norway. Our findings suggest that, in general, cancer patients have benefited from both biomarker testing and more cancer drugs. Furthermore, we find that the total effect of biomarker testing on 3-year survival decreases as the number of drugs available increases, suggesting that the matching of patients with the appropriate treatment is better when fewer drugs are available.