Selection of medicines in packaging

NICE recommends chemotherapy-free treatment option

Patients suffering with untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CCL) may soon be offered a new treatment option after NICE recommended a new chemotherapy-free treatment option for use as part of new final draft guidance.

The newly-recommended drug combination – a mixture of a daily orally-administer drug and an intravenously-administered secondary drug – is set to benefit more than 1,000 people each year.

Following the new guidance, the fixed 12-month chemotherapy-free treatment will be offered to people with CLL who have not received any prior treatments.

It will be offered as a first-line treatment to people with CLL with certain genetic abnormalities. For those without, it will be offered to people with untreated CLL for whom other existing drug combinations are unsuitable.

Affecting white blood cells, CLL is the most common of the chronic leukaemias and accounts for around 30% of all leukaemia cases affecting adults.

In England in 2017, there were 3,157 new cases of CLL recorded.

The new drug combination, referred to as venetoclax plus obinutuzumab, has been recommended to be included by NICE as a new treatment option via the Cancer Drugs Fund, including for people with untreated CLL without a genetic abnormality and for whom other options are suitable. This is to allow for greater evidence to be gathered on its cost effectiveness in this group.

Meindert Boysen, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said: “Today’s announcement is good news for many people with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

“We are pleased the company engaged with NICE and NHSE/I to agree a commercial arrangement that will ensure access to this valuable new treatment option.”

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