Hundreds of women each year are set to benefit from a “life-extending” new treatment for cancer as the NHS strikes a “landmark” commercial deal.
The treatment, which is a combination pembrolizumab and lenvatinib, has shown great promise in clinical trial with findings indicating that the therapy can stop the progression of advanced endometrial cancer for twice as long as standard chemotherapy – from three-and-a-half months to over seven.
Studies have also shown outright survival rate is much better for those taking the treatment, with patients living an average of 19 months compared to around a year on just chemotherapy.
The health service is funding the rollout of the therapy immediately and will thus be offered to all eligible women who have already received treatment for advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer – the NHS estimates this to be around 500-750 women per year.
National clinical director for cancer at NHS England, Professor Peter Johnson, said: “It is fantastic news that this innovative combination therapy can now offer a new lifeline to hundreds of women living with advanced endometrial cancer, giving hope of precious extra time to live with a better quality of life.”
The combination of pembrolizumab and lenvatinib was originally rejected by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) due to cost-effectiveness, however, thanks to the health service’s commercial powers, NICE is set to approve the treatment today.
NICE’s director of medicines evaluation, Helen Knight, added: “NICE’s priority is to get the best care to patients fast while ensuring value for the taxpayer. There are currently few treatments for advanced endometrial cancer so this combination therapy is an important addition, providing women with the hope of valuable additional time with their loved ones.”