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Breast cancer patients to benefit from new ‘highly targeted drug’

NICE has recommended a new ‘highly targeted drug’ for the treatment of some advanced types of breast cancer.

NICE has recommended a new ‘highly targeted drug’ for the treatment of some advanced types of breast cancer.

Around 300 people with advanced breast cancer who have inherited mutations in their BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes will soon be able to access talazoparib (Talzenna) on the NHS, which slows the cancer’s progression.

Initially, NICE decided not to recommend talazoparib due to drug’s cost. Now, Pfizer, the manufacturer, has offered an increased discount, allowing NICE to revisit its decision.

How effective is talazoparib?

Talazoparib has been recommended for adults with BRCA 1 or 2 mutated HER2-negative locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer after prior chemotherapy.

It is a PARP (poly adenosine diphosphate-ribose polymerase) inhibitor which works by shrinking or slowing the growth of certain types of cancer cells.

Talazoparib is taken as a once-daily tablet instead of chemotherapy, making it a more convenient treatment option for patients.

Evidence from a clinical trial showed that talazoparib increases how long people live without their cancer getting worse compared with chemotherapy. However, the trial did not show any difference in how long people live.

Until now, there were no targeted treatments for this type of advanced breast cancer available on the NHS and alternative treatment options are limited to chemotherapy (mainly taxanes) and best supportive care.

ICR welcomes recommendation of new treatment for advanced breast cancer

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) says it is “delighted” that NICE has made this new recommendation which has the ability to improve the quality of life of hundreds of breast cancer patients.

Professor Chris Lord, Professor of Cancer Genomics at The ICR, said: “This is a huge moment for the treatment of advanced forms of inherited breast cancer caused by mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. For the first time, NHS patients with this kind of breast cancer will be able to access a new drug which exploits the specific biology of their cancer. We are delighted that NICE have made this recommendation.

“Patients with advanced breast cancer have spent years campaigning for PARP inhibitors to be made available on the NHS. This decision will offer them a targeted treatment which can slow progression of their cancer and offer them extra months living with better quality of life, free from the side effects of chemotherapy. We are pleased that NICE and the manufacturer have reached an agreement to make talazoparib available at a price the NHS can afford.”

“It is wonderful news that UK patients will now be able to benefit from this highly targeted drug on the NHS,” added Professor Kristian Helin, Chief Executive of the ICR.

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