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6 Aug 2017

NICE approves Abraxane for pancreatic cancer

Life-extending pancreatic cancer medicine to be made available immediately on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended 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).i This decision means that 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. The treatment will be available immediately for eligible patients in England via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

Dr Stephen Falk, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust and Chair of the NCRI Pancreatic Cancer Subgroup commented: “Today’s recommendation is welcomed by the clinical community as well as families affected by metastatic pancreatic cancer - this is a disease that has seen few therapeutic advances in recent years and life expectancy remains extremely poor. It is very reassuring that NICE has decided to recommend nab-Paclitaxel in combination with gemcitabine for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer, and I also welcome the potential of extra survival this regimen may offer to the right patient compared to gemcitabine alone.”

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.

Ali Stunt, Founder and CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action, added: “With an average life expectancy of just 2-6 months post diagnosis, potentially life-extending treatment options are invaluable for people with metastatic pancreatic cancer. NICE’s decision to expand available treatment options will be welcomed by those patients and their families. We are pleased that Celgene, the patient community and NICE have worked together to reach this positive outcome for patients.”

Remo Gujer, General Manager at Celgene UK & Ireland commented: “We are pleased to have been able to work with NICE throughout this process to help ensure that this treatment combination becomes accessible via the NHS to eligible patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer across England. This is an important milestone in our journey in the fight against pancreatic cancer and we will continue our research in this area of considerable unmet need”.

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