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6 Sep 2017

Life-extending pancreatic cancer medicine recommended by NICE in final guidance

The pivotal Phase III study demonstrated that treatment with Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine can offer patients a median overall survival improvement of 1.8 months.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued final technology appraisal guidance recommending the use of nab-Paclitaxel in combination with gemcitabine, in eligible patients, for the first-line treatment of a type of metastatic pancreatic cancer, known as metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (mPDAC). This decision means that no appeals have been received against the Final Appraisal Determination (FAD) and nab-Paclitaxel in combination with gemcitabine is now an option for mPDAC adult patients in England via the NHS when other combination chemotherapies are unsuitable and they would otherwise have gemcitabine monotherapy.

Dr Stephen Falk, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust and Chair of the NCRI Pancreatic Cancer Subgroup commented: “Metastatic pancreatic cancer has an average life expectancy of 2-6 months post diagnosis, and this has shown minimal improvement in the last 40 years. The clinical community welcomes this recommendation of nab-Paclitaxel in combination with gemcitabine for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer from NICE, which provides an alternative treatment option for appropriate patients in this area of unmet need. I also welcome the potential of extra survival this regimen may offer to the right patient compared to gemcitabine alone.

Ali Stunt, Founder and CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action, added: “Today’s decision is welcome news for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer and their families. After many months of campaigning to bring access in line with other nations in the UK, the final guidance issued today will bring equality of access across Great Britain to the patient community. We are pleased that NICE has recognised the importance of new treatment options in this area of unmet medical need.”

Results from the Phase III MPACT (Metastatic Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Clinical Trial) demonstrated an increase in median overall survival of 1.8 months with nab-Paclitaxel in combination with gemcitabine, when compared to gemcitabine alone in first-line treatment of mPDAC [median overall survival (8.5 months vs. 6.7 months, respectively). A post-hoc updated overall survival analysis with an additional 8-month data cut-off confirms the results seen in the Phase III MPACT trial.

Remo Gujer, General Manager at Celgene UK & Ireland commented: “We are delighted that, after reviewing the evidence in our resubmission, NICE has recognised the importance of this treatment combination for metastatic pancreatic cancer patients. We are pleased that appropriate patients in Great Britain will now have access to treatment options such as nab-Paclitaxel and we will continue our research in this area of considerable unmet need.”

The treatment of pancreatic cancer remains an area of unmet need, with around 8 in 10 cases diagnosed at a late stage in England and Scotland. Survival rates have shown minimal improvement over the past 40 years and the disease has one of the worst 5-year survival rates of common cancers in England and Wales. In the 1970s, 1% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survived their disease beyond 10 years; today it is still approximately 1%. Every day in the UK there are approximately 26 new diagnoses of pancreatic cancer, as well as an estimated 24 deaths due to this disease.

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