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Eisai's Lenvima wins over NICE in liver cancer in just three months

Published on 09/11/18 at 11:58am

Eisai has revealed that its multireceptor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Lenvima (lenvatinib) has been recommended by NICE, meaning it can now be used routinely on the NHS in England and Wales for the first-line treatment of untreated, advanced, unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Specifically, the recommendation allows the drug to be used in adult liver cancer patients with Child-Pugh grade A liver impairment and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0 or 1.

The decision came quickly – just three months after EU approval – a stark contrast to the drug’s passage through the same system for the treatment of thyroid cancer, which took almost three years. It was based on Phase 3 data which showed Eisai’s therapy to be non-inferior to current standard of care sorafenib, while it also demonstrated “statistically significant superiority and clinically meaningful improvements” in the progression-free survival (PFS) and objective response rate (ORR).

“Unfortunately, it is very common in the UK for people to be diagnosed with HCC at a very late stage, as people are often asymptomatic in the early stages of disease and it is challenging to detect,” commented Judi Rhys, Chief Executive Officer at the British Liver Trust. “While liver cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the UK, outcomes for patients with advanced disease continues to be poor. Patients with HCC, the most common form of primary liver cancer, have a five-year survival rate of only 12% and a diagnosis is truly devastating for patients. NICE’s approval of lenvatinib in the first-line setting is therefore a significant step for patients across England and Wales who have had very limited treatment options in the past. We look forward to other parts of the UK considering access to this important new therapy.”

Gary Hendler, Chairman and CEO Eisai EMEA, added: “Lenvatinib is the first new treatment option to be made available in this first-line systemic treatment setting of HCC in over a decade which we anticipate could become the new standard of care for patients.”

Matt Fellows

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