14th May 2020

Business as usual for NICE with approval of new lung cancer treatment

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Whilst many businesses are dealing with the impact of COVID-19, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is running pretty much as normal and has this week approved a new treatment for ALK-positive lung cancer.

Lorlatinib was initially rejected by NICE in February. However, it is now reversed its decision following further discussions with manufacturer, Pfizer.

The targeted therapy will now be available to patients with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer whose disease has progressed after treatment with alectinib or ceritinib.

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, comments:

“It is very reassuring to see NICE is still operating as normal in these difficult circumstances.

“Lung cancer does not care about COVID-19. It will not wait for the pandemic to be over. Patients rely on these life-lengthening treatments, so it is wonderful to hear ALK-positive lung cancer patients now have another treatment option when their current one stops working.”

About ALK-positive lung cancer

ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer is one of the rarer forms of the disease and is found in about 3% of non-small cell lung cancer patients.

There are a number of targeted therapies already available to patients with ALK-positive lung cancer – Crizotinib, Ceritinib, Alectinib and Brigatinib.

Brigatinib has NICE approval for second line treatment after Crizotinib and is currently going through NICE appraisal for first line treatment for ALK-positive.

Lorlatinib will be available for ALK-positive patient whose disease has processed after:

1. Alectinib‎ or Ceritinib (as the first line ALK inhibitor)

2. Crizotinib and at least one other ALK inhibitor.