Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Now, said:
“It’s disappointing that talazoparib - a treatment for certain people with incurable secondary breast cancer who’ve inherited an altered BRCA gene* - often known as the ‘Jolie’ gene - has provisionally been rejected for use on the NHS in England.
“While around 5-10% of women with breast cancer carry an inherited altered gene, of which the BRCA 1 and 2 genes are most common, there remain no BRCA-targeted treatments available on the NHS for people with secondary breast cancer.
“Crucially, talazoparib could help to fill this gap and bring patients precious extra time before their disease progresses, compared with chemotherapy, to continue doing what matters most to them. Furthermore, that talazoparib is taken as a daily tablet means fewer hospitals visits are required than for intravenous chemotherapy, freeing up valuable time for both patients and overstretched clinics.
“We urge Pfizer and NICE to now work together to help ensure that talazoparib can reach the patients who could benefit from it. This should include Pfizer exploring the further analyses requested by the NICE Committee and considering scope to improve the cost-effectiveness of talazoparib for use on the NHS.”
Notes to editors
*Talazoparib (Talzenna) is a type of PARP inhibitor and is licensed for the treatment of patients with germline BRCA1/2 mutations, who have HER2-negative locally advanced or secondary (metastatic) breast cancer.
Patients should have been previously treated with:
- an anthracycline or a taxane, or both, unless these treatments are not suitable
- endocrine therapy if they have hormone receptor positive breast cancer, unless this is not suitable.
There is now a period of consultation about this provisional recommendation until 18 August. A second NICE committee meeting is due to take place on 5 September 2023 to consider the evidence and comments from stakeholders.
Breast Cancer Now-funded researchers contributed to the discovery of a targeted use for PARP inhibitors. The charity receives a share of royalties from the Institute of Cancer Research for sales of PARP inhibitor drugs being used in a targeted way to treat cancers with changes in BRCA genes, or other similar defects which mean that cancer cells are unable to properly repair their DNA. Income raised through the royalties/payments for PARP inhibitor drugs is invested back into the charity, so that Breast Cancer Now can continue to fund world-class research and life-changing support for everyone affected by breast cancer.