Beating bowel cancer together

New bowel cancer treatment approved by the European Commission

A new treatment combination for people living with a rare form of bowel cancer has taken a major step forward following approval by the European Commission.

The drugs are used to treat adults with a particular form of colorectal cancer, known as BRAFV600E mutant metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).

UK regulators will now decide whether encorafenib plus cetuximab should be available on the NHS to treat patients with this type of bowel cancer.

Researchers found the combination of the two drugs significantly improved the median overall survival rate in patients with the mutation from 5.9 months to 9.3 months. It also reduced the risk of death by 39%, compared to the control arm of the trial.

Genevieve Edwards, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said:  “This is a really promising step forwards for the one in ten people diagnosed with bowel cancer who have a BRAFV600E mutation, whose treatment options are limited. We’d like to see decisions made quickly by the relevant bodies in the UK to make this available on the NHS for everyone who could benefit as soon as possible.”

Bowel cancer is the UK’s fourth most common cancer and the second biggest cancer killer. Around 10% of people with advanced bowel cancer have a BRAFV600E mutation, with limited treatment options available.

The European Commission Marketing Authority licence was granted following Phase 3 of the BEACON CRC trial1 and marks the first and only targeted regimen licensed in Europe specifically for patients with BRAFV600E mutant metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).

Pharmaceuticals company Pierre Fabre is in discussion with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in England, the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) in Wales and the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) in Scotland to discuss the possibility of making encorafenib plus cetuximab available on the NHS.

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