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The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has announced its decision to reject breast cancer drug Perjeta (pertuzumab, Roche) for routine use on Scotland’s NHS, to treat certain patients with primary breast cancer who are at higher risk of their cancer returning .
Perjeta, given in combination with trastuzumab and chemotherapy, was considered by the SMC as treatment after surgery for patients with HER2 positive breast cancer who have seen cancer cells spread to their lymph nodes.
This treatment combination was approved in England and it is also available in Northern Ireland and Wales.
It is estimated around 200 patients would be eligible for adjuvant Perjeta each year in Scotland.
The SMC has already approved Perjeta for routine use on the NHS in two other patient groups: before surgery (neoadjuvant treatment) in patients with primary breast cancer, and as a first-line treatment for patients with secondary (or metastatic) breast cancer.
Mia Rosenblatt, Assistant Director of Policy and Campaigns at Breast Cancer Now, the research and care charity, said:
It is very disappointing that the SMC has been unable to approve this promising new use of Perjeta, that for some patients could help further reduce the risk of their breast cancer returning.
Trastuzumab (the current standard of care) has been one of the greatest advances in treating breast cancer in recent decades, and adding Perjeta to this treatment offers another step forward.
Around a quarter of women with HER2 positive breast cancer will unfortunately experience a recurrence after treatment, and we regularly hear on our Helpline how the fear of the disease returning or spreading causes huge anxiety for so many patients.
Earlier this year, this treatment combination was approved in England and it is also available in Northern Ireland and Wales. Yet again Scottish patients are missing out on a drug that is available to people living in all other parts of the UK. We now urge the Scottish Government the SMC and Roche to get back around the table and to work together to ensure that this treatment is routinely available for NHS patients in Scotland.
Today the SMC also announced its decision to approve hormonal therapy Decapeptyl SR (triptorelin acetate, Ipsen for use on Scotland’s NHS in treating patients with hormone-positive primary breast cancer who are at high risk of their cancer returning and remain premenopausal after completing chemotherapy.
After surgery, this group of patients would normally be offered chemotherapy and in some cases radiotherapy as well as hormone therapy drugs such as tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor.
Decapeptyl is a drug that suppresses ovarian function, stopping the ovaries from producing oestrogen. It can slow down or stop the growth of hormone-positive breast cancer when it is taken alongside either tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor as a treatment for primary breast cancer. Decapeptyl is given as an intramuscular injection every four weeks.
It is estimated that around 120 patients a year in Scotland are eligible for Decapeptyl.
Mia Rosenblatt, Assistant Director of Policy and Campaigns at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“We welcome the SMC’s decision to approve Decapeptyl for use in treating certain patients with hormone-positive primary breast cancer.
“The fear of breast cancer returning and spreading to other parts of the body, where it becomes incurable, can cause patients considerable anxiety. It’s fantastic to have Decapeptyl available as an additional treatment option to help suppress ovarian function, which, combined with hormone therapy, can help reduce the risk of recurrence and give patients the best chance of survival.
“It’s essential that clinicians discuss ovarian suppression treatment with all eligible patients, including the risks and benefits of the various options available, and that all women are supported to make the informed choice that’s right for them.
For further information, please contact:
Nicola Armstrong, Press and PR Lead – Scotland and the Nations, Breast Cancer Now on 0131 226 0769/ 07900804720 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.