14 Jan 2016
This article is more than 3 years old

NICE confirms decision on radium-223 that divides UK on treatment

Today's announcement means men in England and Wales with hormone-resistant prostate cancer spread to the bones will continue to only receive radium-223 if they've had chemotherapy, unlike their counterparts in Scotland.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) today announced its final decision to make radium-223 available on the NHS for men with hormone-resistant prostate cancer that has spread to the bones – but only if they've been treated with chemotherapy.

It follows a consultation on their draft decision back in November, which remains unchanged in today's announcement and means the UK continues to be divided for this type of treatment. North of the border, the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) recently approved the prescription of radium-223 for men with prostate cancer spread to the bone regardless of chemotherapy.

North-south treatment divide 'unfair'

Heather Blake, our Director of Support and Influencing, said: "It’s unfair that men with this form of the disease in England and Wales who haven’t had chemotherapy will be denied radium-223, when their counterparts in Scotland can have it. For these men, this drug is often the only viable treatment option which can offer them hope.

"The use of radium-223 before chemotherapy may now go on to be one of the first to be reappraised under the Cancer Drugs Fund’s new structure. If so, the manufacturers must make the most of this opportunity so that men who could benefit do not continue to lose out."

Approval of routine enzalutamide upheld

NICE has also confirmed that its previous decision to approve routine use of enzalutamide before chemotherapy has been upheld. In 2015, this treatment received a negative decision from the SMC and is currently under appeal.

Heather added: "We are delighted that NICE’s previous decision to approve enzalutamide before chemotherapy has now been confirmed and that men in the clinic can start to benefit. We now want to see the SMC follow suit."