The deals negotiated by NHS England and company AstraZeneca have enabled NICE to recommend olaparib as a clinically and cost-effective option:
- for adults with HER2-negative, high-risk early breast cancer who have inherited faults in their BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, after surgery and chemotherapy
- for adults with previously treated hormone-relapsed metastatic prostate cancer who have the same BRCA mutations.
Helen Knight, director of medicines evaluation at NICE, said: “We know how important it is for people with these types of cancer to have more treatment options that enable them to maintain or improve their quality of life.
“For adults with this type of early breast cancer, being able to have a targeted treatment after surgery and chemotherapy will increase the chance of curing the disease and reduce the likelihood of developing incurable advanced disease.
“For adults with advanced prostate cancer it can also mean delaying chemotherapy and its associated side effects and allowing them to have more time with their families and loved ones.
“We are therefore delighted that NHS England and the company have been able to reach agreement on this groundbreaking deal enabling NICE to recommend olaparib for routine NHS use and good value for money for taxpayers.
“Olaparib represents an important development in the treatment of early breast and advanced prostate cancer and today’s announcement addresses a significant need by giving people with these types of cancer access to an effective, targeted treatment.”
Health Minister Helen Whately said: “For hundreds of people with cancer and their families, today offers the hope of more precious time with loved ones.
“We are committed to providing world-class cancer care to patients and are always working together with clinicians to find new, cutting-edge treatments.
“Cutting waiting lists is one of the Prime Minister’s 5 priorities and we are driving forward progress with new one-stop shops that offer a range of checks, tests and scans closer to home, meaning patients are receiving the cancer treatment they need as soon as possible.”
Today’s decision reverses NICE’s earlier draft decision not to recommend olaparib for adults who have already had treatment with chemotherapy prior to or following surgery. It also means NICE has now made positive recommendations in all 19 of its appraisals of breast cancer treatments since 2016.
BRCA-positive HER2-negative high-risk early breast cancer is estimated to affect around 450 people in England, of whom approximately 300 will now be eligible for treatment with olaparib following today’s decision.
Today’s announcement also updates NICE’s recommendation for olaparib for people with prostate cancer that has BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations and that has spread after previous therapies.
It is estimated around 500 adults with this type of advanced prostate cancer will be eligible for treatment with olaparib.
Given as a tablet, olaparib is a type of targeted anti-cancer medicine called a poly adenosine diphosphate-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor. PARP is an enzyme that helps cells repair damaged DNA. By blocking this enzyme, PARP inhibitors prevent the DNA of cancer cells being repaired, preventing them from growing and spreading while leaving healthy cells much less affected.
NICE expects to publish final guidance on olaparib for breast cancer and prostate cancer in May 2023.