NICE recommends abiraterone for prostate cancer

NICE has issued final guidance recommending abiraterone (marketed as Zytiga by Janssen) for some prostate cancer patients. This is a change from the appraisal committee’s previous draft guidance decision.

It is estimated that 5,900 people with prostate cancer could be eligible for treatment with abiraterone each year.

Initial evidence submitted by the manufacturer to NICE failed to demonstrate the quality of life and long-term survival for patients receiving abiraterone, meaning NICE could not recommend the drug as indicated.

When requested, Janssen submitted new evidence focusing on a large group of patients treated with abiraterone in the USA. The data showed that 14% of the patients were still taking abiraterone after 4.4 years. The appraisal committee expressed some concerns about whether these results could be generalised to the UK, but they recognised that the new data supported the case for some patients taking abiraterone for long periods of time. As such the committee has now concluded that abiraterone is a cost-effective treatment option.

Commenting on the final decision, Professor Carole Longson, Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE said: “I am very pleased that the new evidence submitted has meant we are able to recommend abiraterone. There are few treatments available for patients at this stage of prostate cancer so this is very good news.”

Where NICE recommends a treatment, the NHS is legally obliged to begin funding the drug within 3 months of the final publication date.


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