More than 600 people could benefit from an innovative drug for a form of lung cancer as NICE publishes final draft guidance recommending osimertinib within the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).
Osimertinib (also known as Tagrisso and made by AstraZeneca) is recommended for people with early-stage (1b to 3a) non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have had surgery to remove their tumour and who have epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutations.
Current clinical trial evidence shows that compared with active monitoring, adjuvant treatment with osimertinib reduces the risk of the disease coming back by 80%. It may also lower the risk of dying from their cancer. However, this evidence is uncertain because information from the trial was released early, and the data is still immature. For this reason the drug is recommended for use within the CDF rather than in routine NHS commissioning.
The CDF recommendation means people with this form of lung cancer will be able to have osimertinib on the NHS while further evidence is gathered on its clinical and cost-effectiveness.
Professor Gillian Leng, Chief Executive at NICE said: “I am delighted we are able to recommend osimertinib within the Cancer Drugs Fund for people with this type of lung cancer. Osimertinib shows real potential in being able to stop people’s cancer from reccurring following surgery.
“For people at this stage of their cancer treatment and with this type of lung cancer, treatment options are extremely limited. Osimertinib is a promising treatment in a new place in the treatment pathway and today’s decision will be welcome news for them and their families.”
EGFR mutations occur in approximately 10% of people with lung cancer in the UK. It is a protein that helps cells in the body to grow. A mutation in the gene for EGFR can make this protein grow too much, which can cause cancer.
According to the company there are around 600 people in England who would be eligible for the treatment. Osimertinib works by blocking EGFR and may help to slow or stop the lung cancer from growing. It may also help to reduce the size of the tumour and prevent the tumour from coming back after removal by surgery.