- Breast cancer, the most common cancer in women
- 18.2% breast cancer deaths reported worldwide
- Eribulin, life-extending drug for women with aggressive breast cancer
Women with breast cancer will now be able to benefit from Eribulin drug after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) agreed it should be made available across the NHS in England.
Eribulin received a European safety license more than five years ago, yet NICE has until now refused to make it routinely available on NHS. NICE has been criticized for sticking to a rigid formula for deciding whether the drug is cost-effective.
‘Eribulin (halaven) approved by UK regulators offers women with metastatic breast cancer three months of additional life compared to other therapies.’
Updated draft guidance from NICE states that the drug should be made available to women who have locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer that has spread after two rounds of chemotherapy. The drug is given intravenously twice every 3 weeks.
The medication had previously been only available through the Cancer Drugs Fund.
Women with advanced breast cancer are expected to live only two years on average, a drug giving extra three months of life is considered valuable.
Working of Eribulin:
Eribulin, the chemotherapy drug works by stopping the cancer cells from spreading into new cancer cells and blocks the cancer growth. Common side effects associated with Eribulin include
- Increased risk of getting infection
- Tiredness and breathlessness
- Hair thinning
Breast Cancer Now chief executive Baroness Delyth Morgan said the drug will offer a "crucial" alternative to patients and its approval is positive news.
"It offers a crucial life-extending alternative for patients whose breast cancer has become resistant to other therapies, and for those with triple negative disease, who desperately lack treatment options," she said.
Professor Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at Nice, said: "The life expectancy of people for whom eribulin is licensed is short, and quality of life is very important."
She said: "But the real tests are still yet to come and we now eagerly await Nice's decision on the even more effective drugs being appraised, including Kadcyla.
NICE is currently reviewing all drugs funded to see whether they meet its strict cost-effectiveness thresholds.
Eribulin is one of the first to be moved from the temporary Cancer Drugs Fund use to routine NICE approval.
- Eribulin - General Information - (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancers-in-general/treatment/cancer-drugs/eribulin/)