Roche invited to submit a CDF proposal for urothelial cancer drug

NICE has asked Roche to submit a Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) proposal for an immunotherapy treatment called atezolizumab.

Atezolizumab (marketed as Tecentriq) was assessed by NICE as a treatment for people who have advanced urothelial cancer.

The NICE committee found stronger evidence is needed to show the drug is both clinically and cost effective.

Therefore, they are inviting Roche to submit a CDF proposal for atezolizumab.

Including a drug in the CDF means patients can have access to the drug while the company gathers more data. This additional evidence may then be strong enough for the NICE committee to reconsider the drug and recommend it be available through the NHS.

Professor Carole Longson, Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE said: “There is a lack of new treatment options for people who have advanced urothelial cancer, so I am very disappointed we’ve not been able to recommend atezolizumab at this stage.

“I hope Roche will work with us to submit a CDF proposal. Funding through the CDF means it could be offered to patients who cannot undergo chemotherapy while we collect more evidence. This will be a positive step for a lot of people.”

Atezolizumab is a form of immunotherapy, a treatment that has been hailed as an innovative way to battle cancer – it works by harnessing the power of the patient’s own immune system to destroy their cancer cells.

Urothelial cancer occurs in the bladder or the ureter (the tube urine passes through from the kidney to the bladder). It is the seventh most common cancer in the UK. Around 10,000 people are diagnosed with it every year.


The  CDF proposal put forward by Roche has laid out plans to address the uncertainties flagged by NICE. Namely, how atezolizumab compares to other standard treatments and whether the clinical benefit is enough to balance its cost. This has been reviewed by the appraisal committee and they have now concluded that atezolizumab should be available on the CDF for the untreated patient population according to the conditions of the managed access agreement.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE said: “I am pleased Roche has worked with us and NHS England to address the uncertainties raised by the committee. To have atezolizumab as an option for people who cannot undergo other treatment for their urothelial cancer is a positive thing.”

Richard Erwin, General Manager, Roche, said: “We welcome the news that patients will now be able to access atezolizumab via the Cancer Drugs Fund, which demonstrates the importance of working collaboratively and flexibility with NICE and NHS England."