4th March 2022

New therapy a step change for previously untreatable lung cancer

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published a final appraisal document recommending a new targeted therapy for people with a specific type of lung cancer.

Lumykras (sotorasib) is now available for use within the Cancer Drugs Fund as an option for treating KRAS G12C mutation-positive locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer in adults whose disease has progressed on, or who cannot tolerate, platinum-based chemotherapy or anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy.

The targeted therapy will address a significant unmet need in previously treated patients with this specific mutation which had previously thought to be untreatable.

The decision has been described as a ‘step-change’ by Professor Sanjay Popat, consultant medical oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, as it now allowing patients with the KRAS mutation to receive daily tablets rather than chemotherapy in the hospital. 

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, welcomes the news:

“This recommendation demonstrates all the hard work that is happening to develop new treatment options for people with lung cancer.

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on patients, potentially denying many of them the chance of an earlier, and possibly life-saving diagnosis. However, these advances in new treatments for the many different types of lung cancer will offer some hope to those living with the disease.

We now know so much more about lung cancer and the different forms it can take. This is why it is essential for anyone diagnosed with lung cancer to have a biopsy to check for any genetic mutations which could open up a whole new treatment path for them.”

There is an estimated 48,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK every year, with non-small cell lung cancer accounting for around 85% of all diagnoses. Approximately 13% of people with non-small cell lung cancers are thought to have the KRAS G12C mutation, making this new treatment a potential lifeline to so many.

Nicky Peel is one of many people who is now able to access this new treatment. She had previously been taking part in a phase 2 clinical trial having exhausting all other existing treatment paths:

“Previously those of us with the KRAS mutation only had chemotherapy or maybe immunotherapy as a treatment option. As we know, chemotherapy can really affect our quality of life, so the release of this new targeted therapy is a major breakthrough.

I am so grateful to the researchers, the scientists and the patients who would have taken part in the many trials to get this drug approved.

I am now on this targeted therapy. I am the first person to be prescribed this treatment in my hospital and I’m just so grateful to have another treatment line available to me.”