Authors: Emily Brown, Future Science Group
In the first NICE approval of a new agent for ovarian cancer for over ten years, yesterday it was announced that guidance has been issued to the NHS recommending the PARP inhibitor olaparib for the treatment of BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer.
The UK has a particularly low survival rate for ovarian cancer compared with other European countries, with England having the lowest 5-year survival rate in Europe. Following this NICE recommendation, the first for a targeted therapy for BRCA-mutated disease, NHS England now has up to 90 days to ensure that olaparib treatment is funded and accessible.
Greg Rossi from AstraZeneca commented: “AstraZeneca is delighted that NHS patients in England will soon have access to the first targeted therapy for ovarian cancer. Olaparib is a product of the British science community and it is only right that patients in this country should have the opportunity to benefit from treatment. We hope that NHS England will issue its commissioning policy as soon as possible to allow funding and rapid patient access to olaparib.”
NICE have highlighted therapy with olaparib as a cost effective treatment option for individuals with platinum-sensitive relapsed BRCA-mutated high-grade serous ovarian cancer who have had three or more courses of platinum-based chemotherapy. Within this patient population, the only other treatment options currently available are surgery or chemotherapy.
Data from key clinical trials have indicated that treatment with olaparib significantly increases the time to disease progression and the time to further chemotherapy cycles within this patient population. Specifically, an 82 % reduction in time to progression was demonstrated compared with standard ‘watch and wait’ – said to be the largest ever effect for this outcome in women with ovarian cancer (HR 0.18, p < 0.0001; median progression-free survival, 11.2 months versus 4.3 months).
Jonathan Ledermann of the University College London Cancer Institute (London, UK) and Primary Investigator of the pivotal olaparib clinical trial commented: “The positive NICE guidance for olaparib represents a turning point for how women with ovarian cancer and a BRCA mutation are treated by the NHS in England. These patients with recurrent ovarian cancer tend to have a poor prognosis and until now their treatment options have been limited to conventional chemotherapy and surgery. I urge NHS England to implement this guidance immediately as there are many patients who are waiting for treatment and who could benefit significantly.”
Source: AstraZeneca press release, 27th January 2016