8 November 2016

Life-Extending Breast Cancer Drug Approved by NICE in Draft Guidance

People with advanced breast cancer are set to benefit from a life-extending drug as NICE says it should be available on the NHS.

After considering new evidence that has become available since its 2012 guidance, NICE has said the drug should be an option for people with locally advanced breast cancer or breast cancer that has spread despite them having had at least 2 prior chemotherapy treatments.

Eribulin is recommended only if the company provides it with the discount agreed in the patient access scheme.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE, said: “When we first looked at eribulin in 2012 there wasn’t enough evidence of its clinical effectiveness compared with current standard treatments to be able to recommend it as a cost effective use of NHS resources.

“For this appraisal we’ve been able to consider updated results from the trial used in the original guidance that show women taking eribulin lived on average almost 3 months longer compared with women taking other treatments. We’ve also been able to take into account the results for health-related quality-of-life from another trial that compared eribulin with capecitabine. This new evidence, together with the discount available through the patient access scheme, enabled the appraisal committee to conclude that erubilin represents good value for money.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in England with around 45,000 new cases each year. In addition around 300 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in England. In 2014 nearly 9,500 women and 60 men died from breast cancer.

Metastatic or advanced breast cancer is where the cancer has spread from the breast to other parts of the body. Locally advanced breast cancer is where the cancer has grown outside of the breast but has not yet spread to distant parts of the body.

Professor Longson added: “The life expectancy of people for whom eribulin is licensed is short, and quality of life is very important. We are therefore pleased to be able to provisionally recommend eribulin as an additional option for people with advanced breast cancer.”