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NICE has published draft guidance recommending trastuzumab deruxtecan for use in the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) for treating a type of breast cancer called HER2 positive breast cancer which can’t be surgically removed or which has spread to other parts of the body.

Trastuzumab deruxtecan also known as enhertu and is jointly developed and commercialised by Daiichi-Sankyo UK and AstraZeneca.

“Up to 400 people will have immediate access to the treatment while more data showing how much longer people who are taking it live compared with people taking chemotherapy is collected,” the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said.

There is currently a lack of clinical trial data directly comparing trastuzumab deruxtecan with chemotherapy. However, NICE’s guidance committee concluded that data from ongoing trials of the medicine and from NHS practice would help address the uncertainty about clinical effectiveness.

Meindert Boysen, deputy chief executive and director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said: “Unfortunately there is no cure for breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body or that can’t be removed surgically.

“The committee heard from patient experts who explained that, because of its side effects, people want to avoid having chemotherapies for as long as possible. They also highlighted the need for treatments that can extend the length of time before the disease gets worse while not having the same negative impact on quality of life as chemotherapies.

“Trastuzumab deruxtecan is a promising new treatment that has the potential to increase the length of time before the disease gets worse and how long people live overall. We’re therefore pleased that our work has allowed a deal to be struck between the company and NHS England supporting access to trastuzumab deruxtecan as an option in the CDF for people with this type of breast cancer.”

NICE expects to publish final guidance on trastuzumab deruxtecan in May 2021. In the meantime, interim funding for the drug will be available.

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