Taken as tablet, twice daily, the treatment slows the cancer progression. Photo: iStock

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved an ovarian cancer treatment, designed to help maintain the effects of chemotherapy.

Rucaparib can now be offered to women with relapsed ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer, that has responded to platinum-based chemotherapy.

Clinical trial evidence suggested that the drug prevented cancer progression for twice as long as placebo treatment.

Rucaparib is taken orally as tablets. It halts the progression of cancer by slowing down the tumour’s growth.

Meindert Boysen, a director at NICE, said: “Many people with advanced ovarian cancer experience recurrent disease which requires multiple rounds of chemotherapy. Rucaparib offers patients a new treatment option to help prevent cancer growth, delaying the need for further chemotherapy and the associated side-effects.”

The latest approval through the Cancer Drugs Fund is a change from an earlier decision to not recommend the drug, citing evidence of uncertainties and cost-effectiveness. The drug manufacturer later proposed an alternative price and reached a commercial agreement with NHS England.

In July, NICE also approved early use of olaparib tablets for advanced ovarian cancer for use in newly diagnosed NHS patients.

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