The Manual
22 Oct 2013

New life-extending cancer drug provisionally approved by NICE

A new drug for advanced prostate cancer has been provisionally approved for use on the NHS.

A new drug for advanced prostate cancer has been provisionally approved for use on the NHS.

Enzalutamide, one of the few treatments shown to extend the lives of men with advanced prostate cancer after standard hormone therapy and chemotherapy, has been given draft approval by NICE for use in England and Wales - a decision which could mean extra months of life for men with prostate cancer.

This 'draft' decision is a promising sign and we should know by early 2014, when NICE has finished it's consultation,  whether it will definitely be available to men.

What is enzalutamide?

Enzalutamide®, also called MDV3100 is a new type of hormone therapy for men whose prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body (advanced prostate cancer) and has stopped responding to other hormone therapy and chemotherapy treatments

It is taken as a tablet and works by stopping the hormone testosterone from reaching the prostate cancer cells. Without testosterone, the cancer cells are not able to grow, wherever they are in the body.

In a recent clinical trial, men who received enzalutamide lived for about four months longer than those who were given a placebo.

When will we know if it’s been approved?

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have made a draft decision approving enzalutamide and will now hold a consultation until 9 November 2013 before making a final announcement on whether the drug will be made available.

At the moment it’s only available in England, through the Cancer Drugs Fund, for men who haven’t had a drug called abiraterone.  In the rest of the UK it may be possible for doctors to request it from their local health board. The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) are due to publish their decision on enzalutamide in November 2013.