12th June 2018

New targeted therapy ‘significant step forward’ for lung cancer patients in Scotland

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The targeted therapy, crizotinib, will now be available for patients with ROS1-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after receiving approval from the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) today.

Already used to treat ALK positive lung cancer patients, crizotinib recently became the first drug to be made available via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) for ROS1-positive patients in England and Wales.

While it is not curative, the therapy looks to shrink or slow the growth of tumours by targeting a specific protein only found in cancerous cells. As it is taken orally it also reduces the need to attend hospital for treatment.

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation sees the announcement as bringing fresh options – and renewed hope – for patients with this type of lung cancer.

Paula Chadwick, the charity’s chief executive, said, “It’s wonderful news that the SMC has approved crizotinib for ROS1 positive patients in Scotland, who can now receive the same therapy as similar patients in England and Wales. It’s a first-of-its-kind moment for this subset of lung cancer patients who are ROS-1 positive.

We know that many ALK positive patients are already benefitting from crizotinib, so the prospect that this could now be replicated for another group of people is another significant advance in tackling lung cancer.

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

How do patients receive this new therapy?

Crizotinib is now available to patients with ROS1 positive NSCLC via NHS Scotland. Your oncology specialist can prescribe the therapy if they believe it is the best treatment for you.

They base this decision on three primary factors:

  • 1. Your type and stage of cancer
  • 2. Any treatments you have had before
  • 3. Your general health.

If you have any questions, you can call our freephone nurse-led helpline on 0800 358 7200.