The UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of Janssen-Cilag’s Velcade (bortezomib) as an option for the first-line treatment of multiple myeloma.

Velcade will be used in combination with an alkylating agent and a corticosteroid as a first-line option for people for whom high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplantation is considered inappropriate and who are unable to tolerate or have contraindications to thalidomide.

The NICE recommendation, if accepted, will mean that these patients will be able to access bortezomib as a front-line treatment.

Janssen-Cilag UK medical director Dr Peter Barnes said his company was confident that the clinical data and efficacy demonstrate that Velcade could be used in a broader range of patients than is contained in the draft guidance in the front-line setting.

“We will work constructively with NICE to demonstrate this evidence in the hope of extending the draft recommendation,” Barnes said.

Multiple myeloma is a deadly blood cancer that affects nearly 4,000 patients in the UK each year.