NICE recommends pemetrexed for the maintenance treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer
NICE has today issued final guidance to the NHS recommending pemetrexed (Alimta, Eli Lilly) for the maintenance treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer.
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK, with around 38,000 people diagnosed every year. Non-small-cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for around 80% of all cases.
Dr Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE said: “Maintenance treatment is a new concept in lung cancer care and pemetrexed is the first drug to be recommended by NICE for this use. The two main goals of this kind of treatment are to prolong the period of remission after first-line chemotherapy and increase the likelihood of being able to receive second-line chemotherapy.
In September 2009 NICE also recommended pemetrexed as a first line treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer and we are pleased to now be able to recommend it as a maintenance treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer.”
Notes to Editors
About the guidance
1. Pemetrexed is recommended as an option for the maintenance treatment of people with locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer other than predominantly squamous cell histology if disease has not progressed immediately following platinum-based chemotherapy in combination with gemcitabine, paclitaxel or docetaxel. People who have received pemetrexed in combination with cisplatin as first-line chemotherapy cannot receive pemetrexed maintenance treatment.
2. Pemetrexed can potentially extend life by approximately 22 weeks and the cost per patient per year is approximately £12k. The most plausible ICER for pemetrexed compared with best supportive care is approximately £47,000 per QALY gained. The committee agreed that pemetrexed should be considered under criteria for evaluating life-extending, end of life treatments and considered the additional weight that would need to be assigned to the QALY benefits for the ICER to fall within the plausible range was acceptable
3. Smoking cigarettes, pipes, or cigars is the most common cause of lung cancer. Other risk factors include:
- Smoking cigarettes in the past.
- Being exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Being treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest.
- Being exposed to asbestos, radon, chromium, nickel, arsenic, soot, or tar.
- Living where there is air pollution.
When smoking is combined with other risk factors, the risk of developing lung cancer is increased.
4. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.
5. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:
- public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
- health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments and procedures within the NHS
- clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.
This page was last updated: 29 June 2010