NICE recommends a new treatment for certain patients with gastric cancer
NICE has recommended the use of trastuzumab (Herceptin) in combination with other treatments for certain patients with metastatic gastric cancer, in guidance out today.
Gastric cancer, also known as stomach cancer, affects around 7,700 people in the UK every year, of which around 350 would be suitable for treatment with trastuzumab.
This latest guidance recommends trastuzumab in combination with cisplatin and either capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil as an option for certain patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the stomach and gastro-oesophageal junction who have high levels of human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2).
HER2 is a protein found on the surface of some cancer cells. Trastuzumab functions by attaching itself to the protein so that epidermal growth factor production is reduced in the cancer cells, stopping them from dividing and growing.
Dr Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE 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.”
During consultation on the first draft guidance, Roche Products, the manufacturer of trastuzumab, submitted a new analysis on a subgroup of patients with the highest levels of HER2.
The Committee discussed this new information in the context of the supplementary advice to the Committee on appraising a life-extending, end-of-life treatment and concluded that trastuzumab was cost-effective in this patient group.
24 November 2010