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UK’s NICE recommends Novartis’ Afinitor to treat neuroendocrine tumours

PBR Staff Writer Published 29 May 2017

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Novartis’ Afinitor (everolimus) to treat unresectable or metastatic neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) in patients with progressive disease.

The recommendation covers the drug as therapy for NETs that are well- or moderately-differentiated, unresectable or metastatic, and of pancreatic origin in patients with progressive disease.

Afinitor has also been recommended by the health body to be used as therapy for well-differentiated non-functional unresectable or metastatic NETs of gastrointestinal (GI) or lung origin in adults with progressive disease.

The recommendation from NICE is expected to help patients get access to a targeted therapy. Besides, Novartis says that the NICE recommendation recognises the positive effect of the drug in slowing down disease progression in patients with neuroendocrine tumours.

Novartis Oncology UK & Ireland general manager Barak Palatchi said: “We are pleased that NICE has recognised the value Afinitor brings to patients with a rare form of cancer. Our ongoing collaboration with NICE highlights our commitment to ensuring patients have access to much needed treatments.”

The Novartis drug targets the protein mTOR which is a key regulator of tumour cell division, blood vessel growth and cell metabolism.

According to NICE, mTOR’s role in the development and progression of various forms of tumours such as renal cell carcinoma and breast cancer has been established by clinical data.  Afinitor is already available as therapy for the tumours in the UK and has also been shown to decelerate the progression of NETs of GI, lung or pancreatic origin.

As per Nice, the Novartis drug is the first mTOR inhibitor available in the country for the treatment of NETs.

Image: Novartis headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Photo: courtesy of Novartis AG.