New treatment approved for patients with breast cancer in Scotland

A new drug for patients with advanced breast cancer has been approved for use by the NHS in Scotland.

The treatment could offer some women with cancer more time with their friends and family. Picture: Getty Images

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) said palbociclib (Ibrance) can increase the time before the condition progresses and delay the need for chemotherapy.

The drug is used for the treatment of HR+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer.

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The SMC also approved treatments for a type of leukaemia and multiple myeloma, a rare incurable cancer of the blood.

SMC chairman Alan MacDonald said: "We know from our patient and clinician engagement (PACE) meeting that having additional time to spend with family and friends is important to those with advanced breast cancer, and we hope our decision on palbociclib will be of value to them.

"Patients with multiple myeloma have to deal with a significant symptom burden in addition to coming to terms with reduced life expectancy. Our decision on daratumumab offers additional time before the disease relapses.

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"For those with acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL), arsenic trioxide offers a treatment that is easier to tolerate and may help improve survival rates."

Palbociclib can be used in combination with the hormone treatment fulvestrant to treat women who have had earlier rounds of therapy.

It inhibits tumour cell growth and delays disease progression.

Olivia Ashman, oncology medical director for Pfizer UK, said: "We are delighted with today's news from the SMC.

"Treating women with palbociclib and fulvestrant has been found to be an important and effective option for those who have already received earlier rounds of hormone therapy and we are pleased that this combination of medicines will now be routinely available in Scotland.

"We know that this approval from the SMC will be meaningful for the many patients and families who are affected by this type of advanced breast cancer and we hope the same outcome will be reached by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) later this year."

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "We welcome the decisions by the independent SMC to approve three more cancer medicines for use across NHS Scotland.

"Being diagnosed with cancer is devastating for all those affected, and we are committed to supporting and continually improving patient care."

Ashleigh Simpson, policy and campaigns manager (Scotland) at Breast Cancer Care, said: "It is fantastic news that palbociclib with fulvestrant will now be available to hundreds of Scottish patients living with metastatic breast cancer each year.

"Palbociclib is one of a new generation of medicines that can slow the spread of the disease and it is a great step forward that women who have received prior hormone therapy will now also be able to benefit from it."