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NICE approves breast cancer treatment through Cancer Drugs Fund

NICE has approved palbociclib through the Cancer Drugs Fund, meaning that women with advanced breast cancer who have already received hormone therapy will now be eligible for palbociclib on the NHS.

The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved Pfizer’s Ibrance (palbociclib) for use in combination with fulvestrant for the treatment of women with hormone receptor positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-) locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer who have received prior endocrine therapy.


As reported by PharmaField, this decision means that palbociclib in combination with fulvestrant will be available on the National Health Service (NHS) via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) and can be used to treat those who have already had earlier rounds hormone therapy for their advanced disease.

“It is very good news for patients that palbociclib can now be used in combination with fulvestrant for women who have already had earlier rounds of hormone therapy for their advanced breast cancer,” said Professor Nicholas Turner in PharmaField, Professor of Molecular Oncology at The Institute of Cancer Research and Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, one of the clinical experts on the NICE panel and lead of the PALOMA-3 trial. “This class of medicine remains one of the most important breakthroughs in breast cancer in the last two decades and palbociclib has been shown to slow tumour growth and maintain quality of life, both of which are incredibly important to women living with this type of breast cancer. Today’s news will be warmly welcomed by patients and doctors alike.”

The recommendation is based on data from the Phase III clinical trial, PALOMA-3, which showed that palbociclib in combination with fulvestrant can delay disease progression by 6.6 months, compared to fulvestrant alone in women who had received prior rounds of hormone therapy (11.2 vs 4.6 months), the outlet reported. By prolonging progression free survival (PFS), it delays the need for subsequent therapies, including chemotherapy, enabling women to live well whilst their disease remains stable for longer.

This approval has been welcomed by The Institute of Cancer Research, London: “We warmly welcome the news that NICE has extended availability of palbociclib to more women with advanced breast cancer,” said Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London. “Targeted treatments like palbociclib are a lifeline for people with advanced cancer. An innovative drug like this can ensure a patient is able to live well, for much longer with their disease.”

3 December 2019


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