Healthcare resource utilization and costs in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes treated with hypomethylating agents: a SEER-Medicare analysis

Journal of Medical Economics, 2021


To describe healthcare resource utilization (HRU) and costs in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) treated with hypomethylating agents (HMA) based on HMA-treatment response.

Materials and methods

SEER-Medicare data (January 2006-December 2016) were used to identify adults diagnosed with MDS (SEER: January 2009-December 2015) initiated on HMA (index date). HMA-treatment success (indicators: ≥7 HMA cycles, stem cell transplantation, and transfusion independence) or failure (indicators: acute myeloid leukemia [AML], AML-like treatment, and death) was determined using a claim-based algorithm. HRU and costs were assessed from the index date to 1-year post-index, overall and stratified by HMA-treatment success or failure. Among patients with HMA-treatment failure, HRU and costs were also assessed from failure to 1-year post-failure.


The study included 3,046 patients (mean age: 77.4 years; females: 36.8%). Rates of HMA-treatment success and failure were 44.4% and 76.2%, respectively (20.6% had HMA-treatment success then failure). Overall, patients had 15.2 inpatient admissions per-100-patients-per-month (median follow-up: 5.9 months). Patients with HMA-treatment success had 7.5 inpatient admissions per-100-patients-per-month (median follow-up: 12.0 months), while those with HMA-treatment failure had 20.4 and 35.3 admissions per-100-patients-per-month pre- and post-HMA-treatment failure, respectively (median follow-up: 4.3 and 1.8 months, pre- and post-HMA-treatment failure, respectively). Mean total healthcare costs were $12,494 per-patient-per-month overall, $8,069 per-patient-per-month among patients with HMA-treatment success, and $13,809 and $19,242 per-patient-per-month pre- and post-HMA-treatment failure, respectively. Outpatient costs (68.3%) were the main contributor of total healthcare costs overall, while inpatient costs (80.3%) were the main cost driver post-HMA-treatment failure.


Without available laboratory test results, clinical indicators observed in claims were used to assess HMA-treatment response.


Over 75% of patients with MDS failed HMA-treatment within 6 months of initiation and were observed with more inpatient admissions than those with HMA-treatment success, translating into substantially higher healthcare costs. HMA-treatment failure results in an important economic burden in MDS patients.

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Stein EM, Bonifacio G, Latrémouille-Viau D, Shi S, Guérin A, Wu EQ, Sadek I, Cao X