The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of Pfizer’s palbociclib for the treatment of patients with breast cancer on the National Health Service (NHS).

The therapy can be used to treat women with previously untreated hormone receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative (HR+/HER2-) metastatic breast cancer.

Palbociclib is a first-in-class cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitor that inhibits tumour cell growth and delays the progression of the disease.

Women with oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, who were diagnosed after the disease had started to spread, will be eligible for the Pfizer treatment.

The UK Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in collaboration with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust carried out the major PALOMA III trial of palbociclib.

The trial conducted the evaluation of palbociclib in combination with a hormone therapy, fulvestrant, in women with advanced breast cancer.

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“The development of this brand new class of cancer drug is one of the most important breakthroughs for women with advanced breast cancer in the last two decades.”

ICR London Molecular Oncology professor and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust consultant medical oncologist Nicholas Turner said: “The development of this brand new class of cancer drug is one of the most important breakthroughs for women with advanced breast cancer in the last two decades.

“In clinical trials, palbociclib has made a huge difference to women’s lives; slowing down tumour growth for nearly a year, and delaying the need for chemotherapy with all its potentially debilitating side effects.

“It has allowed women to live a normal life for longer. I’m delighted that NICE and the manufacturer have managed to come to an agreement over the price and economic modelling of palbociclib, so that many more women can access this much-needed new type of treatment on the NHS.”

In addition, NICE has also recommended the use of Novartis’ Kisqali (ribociclib) as a cost-effective treatment for postmenopausal women within England and Wales with advanced breast cancer.

Both palbociclib and ribociclib will be used in combination with an aromatase inhibitor.