13 February 2018

Once a Day Pill for Ovarian Cancer Could Be Made Available On the CDF

NICE has invited Tesaro to submit a proposal for including niraparib (Zejula) in the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), for treating some types of recurrent ovarian cancer.

According to company estimates up to 850 women in England and Wales could benefit from this new treatment.
In this draft guidance niraparib was appraised for the treatment of women with relapsed ovarian, fallopian tube and peritoneal cancer who have had 2 or more courses of platinum based chemotherapy.

Women with this type of cancer typically have a poor outlook because of late diagnosis, and chemotherapy is often the only available treatment.

Clinical trial results showed that niraparib stalled cancer growth by around 6 to 15.5 months more than placebo, depending on a woman’s genetic profile. However the final results on overall survival were not available. Therefore it was not clear whether niraparib increases the length of time people live.

Because of the uncertainty in the clinical evidence, cost effectiveness estimates were uncertain. Therefore niraparib was not recommended for routine use in the NHS.

Mirella Marlow, acting director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE said:The outcome for women with ovarian cancer is generally poor, with less than 35% surviving for 5 years after diagnosis.

“The inclusion of niraparib in the Cancer Drugs Fund will give women early access to this treatment while uncertainties in the clinical evidence can be addressed through the collection of additional data.”

Niraparib is a maintenance treatment which is taken to help the primary treatment, usually chemotherapy, succeed and prevent relapse of the disease. It is taken as an oral pill once daily until the disease gets worse.

Ovarian cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women. In 2015, over 6,000 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and it was the cause of 3,352 deaths in England.

This draft guidance is now open for consultation until 1 March 2018.