UK: NICE Says No to Two Breast Cancer Drugs

Posted 28 June 2012 | By Louise Zornoza 

In final guidance published 27 June, the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) does not recommend lapatinib (Tyverb, GlaxoSmithKline) or trastuzumab (Herceptin, Roche) with aromatase inhibitors as first line treatment options for metastatic breast cancer.

The guidance notes it is unclear how much either drug can improve overall survival compared to existing treatments and as a result they do not represent value for money for the NHS. The decision was taken even though both drugs "can reduce the growth and further spread of metastatic breast cancer tumors when compared with the aromatase inhibitors letrozole and anastrozole," wrote NICE experts.

The guidance is specifically on the use of lapatinib or trastuzumab as first line treatment options to delay the growth of advanced breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic disease), and which reacts with the hormones oestrogen or progesterone and has high levels of a protein called HER2 on the surface of its cells. The guidance only advises on the use of these drugs alongside aromatase inhibitors (a type of hormone therapy).

Read more:

NICE - Two breast cancer drugs not cost effective, says final NICE guidance

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