Targeted pill for recurrent ovarian cancer approved for use on NHS

Micrograph of a serous papillary carcinoma (adenocarcinoma) of ovary

A once-a-day pill for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer could benefit up to 850 women in England and Wales after it was approved for use on the NHS through the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Niraparib (Zejula; Tesaro) should be made available to adults with relapsed, high-grade serous epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer who have had two or more courses of platinum-based chemotherapy, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said in final draft guidance published on 1 June 2018.

Clinical trial results showed that niraparib delayed cancer growth by around 6–15.5 months more than placebo, depending on the patient’s genetic profile.

However, the final results on overall survival were not available. Therefore, it was not clear whether niraparib increases the length of time people live, NICE said.

Niraparib works by inhibiting two proteins involved in DNA repair in order to prevent cancer growth. It will be funded at a confidential discounted price, as agreed between the company and NHS England, while more long-term survival data are gathered.

Meindert Boysen, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE, said: “The outcome for women with ovarian cancer is generally poor, with less than 35% surviving for five years after diagnosis.

“We are pleased to see the inclusion of niraparib in the Cancer Drugs Fund as it will give women early access to this treatment while uncertainties in the clinical evidence can be addressed through the collection of additional data.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Targeted pill for recurrent ovarian cancer approved for use on NHS;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20204946

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