Guidance issued by NICE (England) for treating neuroendocrine tumours (NETs)
Final guidance recommending everolimus (Infinitor, Novartis) and sunitinib (Sutent, Pfizer) to treat neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). The drugs are recommended as an option for pancreatic NETs that cannot be operated on and have progressed.
Everolimus is also recommended as an option for those with NETs of a gastrointestinal or lung origin where their disease has progressed.
Everolimus works by stopping a protein called mTOR. mTOR can trigger cancer cells to grow, so by stopping it, everolimus can slow down cancer growth. Sunitinib is a targeted therapy that works by blocking the growth signals of cancer cells, eventually causing them to die.
NETs can be found in several organs of the body, but most commonly areas are the pancreas, gastrointestinal tissue and lungs.
An independent committee heard there are few treatment options available for NETs across the three areas, especially the lungs. The committee understood that these two drugs will be welcomed by patients with NETs due to this unmet need.
There are around 3000 new cases of NETs diagnosed every year in the UK.
It is estimated that 936 patients would be eligible for everolimus and sunitinib every year in England. For treating pancreatic NETs, both drugs met NICE’s end of life criteria of extending life by more than 3 months.
A confidential pricing arrangement has been agreed with the company and the Department of Health for everolimus, which is only recommended when the company provides it with the agreed discount.
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