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NICE approves new combination drug for advanced breast cancer

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved another potentially life-extending drug combination for advanced breast cancer patients.

Palbociclib (Ibrance) by Pfizer with fulvestrant will now be available through Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) to women with hormone receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative or metastatic breast cancer.

Taken once-daily in pill form, palbociclib is a combination of two other NICE-approved drugs ribociclib and abemaciclib.

According to clinical trial evidence, palbociclib with fulvestrant increases the length of time before the disease progresses, in comparison to fulvestrant alone.

However, only the final trial results could confirm whether palbociclib could increase the length of time patients would live.

Meindert Boysen, director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “The committee heard that treatments that can delay the need for chemotherapy, improve quality of life and extend how long people live in better health are important and would be welcomed. Palbociclib provides people with an alternative where NICE has already recommended two other drugs.”

NICE expects the new treatment to benefit up to 3,300 women who have already had endocrine treatment.

Blake Dark, NHS Commercial Medicines Director, said: “This targeted treatment has the potential to make a real difference to the quality of life for people with breast cancer, not only extending survival, but significantly delaying the need for chemotherapy.”

“The NHS worked closely with the manufacturer of the treatment, Pfizer, to reach an agreement meaning that it will be available to patients immediately while further evidence is to be collected,” Dark added.

The drug combination is already available to NHS patients in England following NICE’s draft guidance recommendation in November.

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