18th January 2021

Lung cancer treatment approved for rare form of the disease

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The Scottish Medicine Consortium has approved a new treatment for people with ROS1-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

Targeted therapy, Entrectinib, will now be available to patients in Scotland with the ROS1 mutation who have not previously been treated with ROS1 inhibitors.

The decision comes after a phase II study saw a 72% response rate in ROS1-positive advanced NSCLC.

Paula Chadwick is the chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation:

“It’s great to start 2021 with news that a new treatment is to be made available for people with ROS1-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

There is no escaping the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on lung cancer, and, in particular, the diagnosis of the disease. However, the approval of new life-lengthening treatments did continue throughout 2020 and now 2021.”

ROS1 affects around 1-2% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer. In this type of the disease, the lung cancer cells contain changes affecting the gene responsible for a protein called ROS1.

ROS1 belongs to a family of proteins called receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), which are involved in the growth of cells. In patients found to be ‘ROS1-positive’, the ROS1 protein is abnormally active and can drive the growth of cancer cells.

Paula concludes:

“We appreciate how difficult the pandemic has been, and continues to be, for people with lung cancer, but I hope the news of this treatment will offer some renewed hope for the future.”

The announcement by the SMC mirrors that of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which approved the treatment for patients in England and Wales early in 2020.