NICE recommends Herceptin for gastric cancer
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
NICE has recommended that trastuzumab (Herceptin) can be offered to some people with gastric cancer, as part of combined therapy.
In today’s final guidance, NICE says that patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the stomach and gastro-oesophageal junction, with high levels of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), may be offered trastuzumab in combination with cisplatin and either capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil if they have not previously had treatment for metastatic disease.
This ruling will mean that trastuzumab could be offered to about 350 out of the 7700 people who develop gastric cancer in the UK, every year. It extends overall survival by a median of 5.6 months for this sub-group of patients. The total drug cost of trastuzumab is approximately £10,185 per patient, based on a patient weight of 62kg.
NICE had considered a new analysis on the drug’s benefits in patients with the highest HER2 levels, before concluding in its final guidance that trastuzumab is cost-effective in this patient group.
Dr Carole Longson, NICE’s health technology evaluation centre director, said: “We are very pleased to be able to recommend trastuzumab for patients with gastric cancer who have very high levels of HER2.
“This new guidance is good news for patients. The average life expectancy for people with metastatic gastric cancer is around one year. Although trastuzumab is not a cure, it has the potential to extend the lives of those patients with high levels of HER2 by more than three months.”