The drug targets triple negative breast cancer. Photo: iStock

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) does not recommend Roche’s atezolizumab (Tecentriq) for advanced breast cancer treatment.

The announcement, published in a draft guidance on Wednesday, is based on uncertainties around clinical evidence and cost-effectiveness estimates that are much higher than acceptable.

Atezolizumab targets triple negative breast cancer and given to patients, who have not had chemotherapy for metastatic disease, through an injection every two weeks with nab-paclitaxel.

According to NICE, the clinical evidence available suggests that the drug combination extends the time before the disease worsens and increases the overall survival rates. However, there is no data available comparing it directly with other treatments currently used at this stage.

Meindert Boysen, a director at NICE, assured that the committee would work with the company to try to resolve the identified issues.

“I know that today’s announcement will be disappointing for people with this type of breast cancer as well as for their families and carers. Atezolizumab provides for a new way of treating people with significant unmet need, where targeted therapies have not been available to date,” he said.

Around 2,000 people across England have triple negative breast cancer, of whom around 600 would be eligible for atezolizumab and nab-paclitaxel treatment.

The consultation on the draft guidance is open until October 24 and an appraisal committee will reconsider it two weeks later on the basis of the comments it receives.

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