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NICE recommends venetoclax combo, a non-chemo option for untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

Published on 10/11/20 at 12:36pm

NICE has recommended venetoclax in combination with obinutuzumab under final draft guidance for the first-line treatment of untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), providing access to a 12-month chemotherapy-free option to patients in England and Wales via the NHS.

CLL is the most common form of chronic leukaemia, accounting for around a third of all adult cases and with 3,157 new diagnoses of the condition in England in 2017. It’s estimated that more than 1,000 treatment-naïve CLL patients will be eligible to access the therapy through this decision.

CLL patients will be offered the drug combo as a first-line treatment if their tumours feature genetic abnormalities including 17p deletion or TP53 mutation. In absence of these abnormalities, patients will be eligible to receive the combo if they are deemed not suitable to receive fludarabine plus cyclophosphamide and rituximab (FCR) or bendamustine plus rituximab (BR).

“Today’s announcement is good news for many people with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia,” remarked Meindert Boysen, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE. “We are pleased the company engaged with NICE and NHSE/I to agree a commercial arrangement that will ensure access to this valuable new treatment option.”

Additionally, NICE has recommended the combo be made available via the Cancer Drugs Fund to CLL patients who are eligible to receive FCR or BR but whose tumours do not feature 17p deletion or TP53 mutation, in order to generate data on the treatment’s cost-effectiveness.

Matt Fellows

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