Breast cancer check

NICE recommend 18th breast cancer treatment since 2018

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today recommended the drug trastuzumab deruxtecan for people with advanced breast cancer.

Clinical trial data has indicated that trastuzumab deruxtecan increases the amount of time before a patient’s cancer gets worse, in comparison with the standard use of trastuzumab emtansine.

However, with the clinical trial investigating and comparing the life expectancy of patients when treated with the two aforementioned drugs still ongoing, NICE say the value-for-money estimates are “highly uncertain” and thus cannot recommend trastuzumab deruxtecan for routine NHS use.

Therefore, trastuzumab deruxtecan will only be made partly available as more evidence is gathered to determine the cost-effectiveness of the drug. Once the necessary data is accrued, NICE will make a decision on whether the medicine can be recommended for routine use throughout the NHS.

NHS England Cancer Drugs Fund Clinical Lead, Professor Peter Clark, said: “This cutting-edge drug will give hundreds of patients with secondary incurable breast cancer hope, increasing the amount of time people have before their cancer gets worse, and allowing them to live normal, healthy lives for longer.

“The NHS is committed to providing the very best treatments for its patients and trastuzumab deruxtecan is just the latest of more than 100 cancer treatments that have been fast-tracked for use on the NHS through the Cancer Drugs Fund, benefitting more than 80,000 patients.”

Today’s final draft guidance means that, since 2018, NICE has recommended all 18 breast cancer treatments it has evaluated.

Helen Knight, director of medicines evaluation at NICE, said:  “Today’s draft guidance is good news for people with this type of advanced breast cancer, who often experience severe and debilitating symptoms.

“It also means NICE has made positive recommendations in all 18 of its appraisals of breast cancer medicines since March 2018. These are all now available for clinicians to use in the treatment of thousands of NHS patients and demonstrate how NICE works successfully at the interface of health and care and the life sciences industry to enable early access to innovation.”

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NHE May/June 2024

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