Beating bowel cancer together

NICE recommends new drug for advanced bowel cancer

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published draft final guidance approving Lonsurf for use on the NHS. It has been recommended as a third- or subsequent-line treatment of metastatic bowel cancer who have been previously treated.

Lonsurf, previously known as TAS-102, is a combination of two drugs called trifluridine and Tipiracil hydrochloride. Trifluridine is taken into the DNA of tumour cells and inhibits tumour growth. Tipiracil hydrochloride slows the breakdown of trifluridine to prolong this action.

Under new Cancer Drugs Fund rules the drug is available to patients now, prior to the final guidance being published. This means patients who meet the criteria for Lonsurf can now access it.  Once the final guidance is published, funding for the drug will move into standard NHS funding.

The NICE committee agreed “that potentially adding an average of 3.2 months to a particularly short life expectancy of 7.9 months would represent a clinically meaningful benefit. The committee also “appreciated that trifluridine–tipiracil hydrochloride represents a well-tolerated treatment that would help extend life by even a relatively short time, while maintaining a reasonably good quality of life at a late stage in the treatment pathway when people have no further options left.”

Asha Kaur, Policy Manager, said “Treatment options for people with advanced bowel cancer available on the NHS is currently limited, so we’re delighted that NICE has approved Lonsurf for use as a third line treatment option for people with advanced bowel cancer. Survival rates for advanced bowel cancer is tragically poorer compared to people diagnosed at the earliest stages of the disease, with less than one in ten surviving for five years or more. We hope Lonsurf provides both patients and clinicians with much needed options for those who don’t respond to other treatments.

The final guidance will be published after a 15 day appeal period.

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