NEW BREAST CANCER DRUGS COULD BE MADE AVAILABLE IN THE UK
The UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a positive final appraisal document on the class of breast cancer drugs known as aromatase inhibitors (AIs) for post-surgery use. The decision from NICE could make the treatments available to postmenopausal women with breast cancer covered by the country's National Health Service. Previously, tamoxifen has been the standard treatment for this indication.
Novartis' Femara (letrozole) is now recommended for adjuvant (post-surgery) and extended adjuvant (after five years of tamoxifen therapy) use in early invasive estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
NICE's appraisal includes an independent
cost-effectiveness analysis, which showed that for primary adjuvant treatment
for five years, the costs per quality-adjusted life-year gained were lower for
Femara and anastrozole, another AI, when compared with tamoxifen therapy for the
same time period. NICE considers both treatments to be cost effective.