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NICE recommends abemaciclib for early breast cancer

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended abemaciclib also called Verzenios, made by Eli Lilly, for people with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative, node-positive early breast cancer at high risk of recurrence who have had surgery to remove their tumour.

The clinical trial result showed that people having abemaciclib with hormone therapy had a more than 30 per cent better chance of their cancer not coming back following surgery compared with people having hormone therapy alone.

Helen Knight, interim director of medicines evaluation at NICE, said: “Today’s positive draft recommendation, which comes less than a month after abemaciclib received its licence, is fantastic news. The fact that we have been able to produce draft recommendations so quickly is testament to the success of our ambition to support patient access to clinically and cost effective treatments as early as possible.

“Until now there have been no targeted treatments for people with this type of breast cancer. Abemaciclib with hormone therapy represents a significant improvement in how it is treated because being able to have a targeted treatment earlier after surgery will increase the chance of curing the disease and reduce the likelihood of developing incurable advanced disease.”

Professor Peter Johnson, National Clinical Director for Cancer for NHS England, said: “Thanks in part to this latest deal struck by NHS England, NHS patients will be able to access another new targeted drug for a common and aggressive form of breast cancer.

“Abemaciclib, when used alongside a hormone therapy, offers a new doubly targeted treatment option, helping to increase the chances of beating the cancer for good, as well as meeting the NHS’ commitment to delivering improved cancer care under our Long Term Plan.”

Treatment with chemotherapy or hormone therapy, or both, has remained the standard of care for many years for people with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative, node-positive early breast cancer at high risk of recurrence following surgery.

Around 50,000 people a year are diagnosed in England with breast cancer. HER2-negative breast cancer is the most common type, accounting for about 70 per cent of all breast cancers. It is estimated that early breast cancer comes back after initial treatment in around 30 per cent of people.

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