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Roche's Alecensa secures NICE approval in NSCLC after topping Pfizer's Xalkori

Published on 28/06/18 at 10:32am

UK health watchdog NICE has given its approval for Roche’s selective ALK inhibitor Alecensa (alectinib) for use on the NHS, recommending the medicine in its final appraisal determination in the treatment of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adult patients.

Phase 3 data backing up the appraisal indicated that Alecensa tripled the median investigator-assessed progression-free survival with a score of 34.8 months versus 10.9 months with Pfizer’s Xalkori (crizotinib), the current standard of care in NSCLC.  Roche’s product also reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 57% compared to the same drug. In addition, Alecensa also reuded the risk of tumours originating or metastasising in the central nervous system by 84% - a key advantage as lifetime incidence of brain metastases stands at up to 50%.

“This is welcome news for clinicians and patients.  ALK-positive NSCLC is a rare type of lung cancer that predominantly affects younger people, non-smokers and has a propensity to spread into the brain,” commented Dr Riyaz Shah, Consultant Medical Oncologist. “Alectinib has demonstrated substantial improvements in delaying cancer growth in these patients. It has also shown significant improvements in preventing and delaying cancer spread into the brain.”

Simon Eayrs, Cancer Immunotherapy Lead for Roche UK commented “We are delighted that patients with this rare type of lung cancer will have access to alectinib via the NHS. ALK-positive NSCLC disproportionately affects younger people with a non-smoking history and is typically resistant to treatment. This announcement is testament to our ongoing commitment to working with NICE to give people living with advanced forms of lung cancer valuable extra time with friends, families and loved ones.”

Matt Fellows

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