Breast cancer screen

Life-extending breast cancer drug to benefit thousands after NICE approval

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have approved another potentially life-extending breast cancer treatment, after final draft guidance was published today.

The drug combination of palbociclib and fulvestrant has been recommended for adults with the advanced breast cancer called HER2-, who have already undergone hormone therapy.

Palbociclib is a pill taken once a day and is a type of drug known as a cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6 inhibitor. These drugs work by inhibiting proteins in cancer cells, ultimately depriving them of the ability to divide and therefore grow and spread.

Palbociclib has been available via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) since 2020 whilst more evidence was collated to address concerns about how cost-efficient it was and how long it increases a patient’s life expectancy.

Helen Knight, interim director of medicines evaluation at NICE, said: who have already had endocrine treatment. It provides a further valuable treatment option that can increase the time they remain in good health, and to delay the need for chemotherapy and its associated side-effects.

“It is further proof of the success of the Cancer Drugs Fund in giving tens of thousands of patients early access to promising new cancer treatments while more evidence is gathered on their clinical and cost-effectiveness.

“As our evaluation of palbociclib shows, this process works well when companies engage with NICE and NHS England to price their medicines reasonably and present a clear case for additional evidence to be gathered while they’re in the CDF.”

The recommendation means that the drug combination will now be available for routine use on the NHS. Palbociclib is just one of 16 breast cancer treatments approved by NICE since 2018 – actions that have benefited tens of thousands of people.

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