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AstraZeneca's Imfinzi to be made available via Cancer Drugs Fund in England

Published on 28/03/19 at 10:03am

AstraZeneca’s PD-L1 inhibitor Imfinzi (durvalumab) will now be made available to English lung cancer patients on the NHS via the Cancer Drugs Fund, NICE has announced.

It is thought that around 165 patients with locally advanced unresectable non-small-cell lung cancer, who have already received platinum-based chemoradiation, will be eligible to receive the drug, which will be made available immediately, through the first year.

The decision was spurred by data that demonstrated that the drug halted disease progression for an average of approximately two years, compared to an average of six months in those not taking the drug. On this basis, the committee at NICE determined that five-year survival could be achieved by around 27-40% of patients taking the drug, but it also agreed that the data was too immature to confirm the proposition that it is a “potentially curative treatment”.  With further data, the drug could potentially be considered a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

“This decision marks the biggest advance we’ve seen for a number of years in treating locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer,” remarked Dr Fiona McDonald, a consultant clinical oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. “For our patients it’s fantastic news; I expect to see an immediate impact on clinical practice, and for this treatment to become the standard of care for eligible patients.The trial on which the decision is made showed a step-change increase in survival rates and demonstrates a clear benefit of immunotherapy, given after the current standard of care, concurrent chemoradiation.”

Meindert Boysen, Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, also commented: “The Cancer Drugs Fund gives patients faster access to the most promising cancer treatments. We are pleased to make this exciting new option available and look forward to seeing further data on the effectiveness of durvalumab.

“After relatively few developments in the past two decades for people with this type of lung cancer, this decision will be particularly welcome to those with the condition, their families and the healthcare staff and experts working with them.”

Matt Fellows

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