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AstraZeneca's Lynparza approved via Cancer Drugs Fund for BRCA+ gynaecological cancers

Published on 26/07/19 at 09:45am

NICE has published final guidance which approves AstraZeneca’s Lynparza (olaparib) for use on the NHS as a maintenance therapy for advanced high-grade epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer in adult BRCA+ patients that have responded to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.

The medicine will be made available via the Cancer Drugs Fund while additional data is harvested from an ongoing clinical trial. It was previously approved by the UK watchdog, but not until much later in the treatment pathway, in advanced ovarian cancer. The drug will be made available immediately and it’s thought that around 700 patients in the UK will stand to benefit from this latest improved access.

“Maintenance treatment with olaparib heralds a new era for women with ovarian cancer; this is the first time we have seen such dramatic improvements in progression-free survival. This means that more women will have a longer time before relapse, time of chemotherapy and the possibility of increased survival,” remarked Dr Susana Banerjee, Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden, Team Leader in Gynaecological Cancers at the ICR, was co-author on the SOLO-1 trial of Lynparza. “The Landmark trial SOLO-1 led to a paradigm shift in the treatment of women with advanced ovarian cancer. This is the first trial of maintenance treatment with this type of drug for newly diagnosed patients. The trial results to date have shown that olaparib maintenance therapy extends progression-free survival by around 3 years in women with BRCA mutation linked advanced ovarian cancer. Some of my patients who have been treated in this trial at The Royal Marsden remain cancer-free several years later.”

John Stewart, NHS Director of Specialised Commissioning, added: “Olaparib has the potential to make a huge impact on the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer, giving patients a better chance of survival, and NHS England has worked closely with AstraZeneca and NICE to reach a deal that has clear benefits for those patients who would benefit, as well as industry and taxpayers. Providing the latest cutting edge treatments for patients through innovative drug deals is just one way the NHS Long Term Plan will transform cancer care across the country, building on the thousands more lives already being saved thanks to improving treatment.”  

Matt Fellows

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