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Eisai and MSD's Lenvima recommended for NHS Scotland in advanced or unresectable liver cancer

Published on 08/04/19 at 05:07pm

Patients in Scotland with with advanced or unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) will now be able to access Eisai and MSD’s Lenvima (lenvatinib) as a monotherapy via NHS Scotland, following a recommendation for the drug from the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), it has emerged.

The SMC’s decision was made on the basis of Phase 3 data that illustrated Lenvima as non-inferior to standard of care sorafenib in improving overall survival. The data, derived from 954 patients with treatment-naïve unresectable HCC, also showed that the drug demonstrated “statistically significant superiority and clinically meaningful improvements” in progression-free survival and objective response rate, the trial’s secondary endpoints.

“HCC is a devastating disease that has seen little progress in recent years in terms of innovation and new systemic treatment options, so lenvatinib as an alternative option is a very welcomed step forward for physicians, HCC patients and their families”, said Vanessa Hebditch, Director of Policy at the British Liver Trust. “We are delighted that the Scottish Medicines Consortium has agreed to the use of this drug for patients in Scotland."

Liver cancer is the seventh-highest cause of cancer-related death in Scotland, and HCC accounts for almost 90% of primary liver cancer cases in the UK; 572 patients lost their lives to the disease in Scotland in 2015, a figure 52% higher than a decade earlier.

“This is really welcome news for clinicians and for patients across Scotland, where previously the limited availability of treatment options created an additional challenge when diagnosed with HCC”, remarked Professor Jeff Evans, Professor of Translational Cancer Research, University of Glasgow. “This new option will allow us greater flexibility in managing patients who may not be suitable for other treatment options.”

Matt Fellows

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