Beating bowel cancer together

New combination treatment for advanced bowel cancer patients in Scotland

Monday 10 May 2021

Today the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) announce their final recommendation for a new treatment combination for people living in Scotland, who are diagnosed with a rare form of bowel cancer.

BRAFTOVI® (encorafenib) is used with another drug called Erbitux® (cetuximab) in adults with advanced bowel cancer whose cancer cells have a mutation (faulty copy) in their genes called BRAF V600E.

In cancer cells with the BRAF V600E mutation, there is a faulty protein which is involved in sending signals encouraging the cancer to grow and spread. By blocking this protein, BRAFTOVI® (encorafenib) plus Erbitux® (cetuximab) helps to slow down the growth and spread of the cancer.

Claire Donaghy, Head of External Affairs (devolved nations) at Bowel Cancer UK, said: "Approximately one in ten people diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer have a BRAFV600E mutation, and their treatment options are currently extremely limited. These patients will typically have worse outcomes than those who do not have this mutation.

"We worked closely with clinicians and our supporters to submit evidence to the SMC on the impact of living with stage 4 bowel cancer and the potential benefits of the combined treatment. We are really pleased that today's announcement offers new hope to patients living in Scotland."

This combination of drugs are already available for advanced bowel cancer patients living in England and Wales as well as Northern Ireland.

Emily Meunier, who lives in Fife, was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2020 and shared her experience as part of the SMC consultation: "These drugs have been proven to shrink my type of cancer and have worked extremely well for others living in England and Wales.

"Today I'm full of hope! Since starting Encorafenib with Cetuximab only a couple of months ago (thanks to Covid-19 special dispensation), my liver lesions have already reduced in size and I'm tolerating the drugs extremely well. Feeling much better off the chemo and with fewer visits to hospital, I am now planning ahead a little and starting to really live again.

"I'm so grateful to have this chance and reassured to know that other people in Scotland with the same condition will be able to have this new treatment option too."

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