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Published on 11 November 2014

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Scottish Medicines Consortium decision on Afinitor® (Everolimus)

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has issued a positive recommendation for everolimus, which has been accepted for use in NHS Scotland, as a treatment option for advanced kidney cancer patients who have failed on or after one previous vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-targeted therapy. (1)

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has issued a positive recommendation for everolimus, which has been accepted for use in NHS Scotland, as a treatment option for advanced kidney cancer patients who have failed on or after one previous vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-targeted therapy. (1)

The positive recommendation comes at a time when there is increased focus on the SMC to approve more medicines for cancer. The SMC’s decision is long awaited news for advanced kidney cancer patients who will now have access to this treatment through NHS Scotland. This is particularly important as recent figures from the latest review of kidney cancer incidence in the UK report higher than average rates of the disease in parts of Scotland. (2)

The SMC’s announcement is in direct contrast to the recommendation made by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in 2011. The decision was made to not make everolimus available in this indication for use in NHS England, (3) although access could be granted to patients in England through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

Bob Doris MSP, Deputy Convener of the Scottish Parliament Health & Sport Committee commented: “Access to cancer medicines in Scotland has been an important topic for the past few years. I am delighted that clinicians now have access to another treatment option.  It is also encouraging to see that this decision together with the changes recently made to the SMC processes are starting to show an increase in the number of treatments available to patients.

In 2011 there were over 10,000 newly diagnosed cases of kidney cancer in the UK and in 2012 the disease caused around 4,300 deaths. (2,4) Nearly a fifth of patients are diagnosed with advanced stage kidney cancer. Only 10% of advanced stage kidney cancer patients live for at least five years post diagnosis. (5)

Everolimus is an oral treatment that targets the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a protein that regulates tumour cell division. (6) Everolimus is accepted for use within NHS Scotland, for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma whose disease has progressed on or after one previous VEGF-targeted therapy. (1)

A comprehensive package of clinical data and cost effectiveness evidence; highlighting the efficacy and safety profile of everolimus was submitted to the SMC.

References:

  1. The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) assessment on everolimus 2.5mg, 5mg and 10mg tablets (Afinitor®). SMC No. 595/10. Issue date November 2014
  2. Cancer Research UK. Kidney cancer incidence statistics. 2014. Available here: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/types/kidney/incidence/uk-kidney-cancer-incidence-statistics#By  [Last accessed November 2014]
  3. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) technology appraisals [TA219] Published date: April 2011. Available here: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ta219 [Last accessed November 2014]
  4. Cancer Research UK. Kidney Cancer: Key Facts. 2014.  Available here: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/keyfacts/kidney-cancer/kidney-cancer [Last accessed November 2014]
  5. Cancer Research UK. Statistics and outlook for kidney cancer.  Available here: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/kidney-cancer/treatment/statistics-and-outlook-for-kidney-cancer [Last accessed November 2014]
  6. Everolimus (Afinitor) Summary of product characteristics. Afinitor Tablets. Available here: http://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/22281/SPC/Afinitor+Tablets [Last accessed November 2014]


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