17 June 2022

In response to the news abemaciclib has been approved by NICE for routine use on the NHS with hormone therapy following surgery for certain women with hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative primary breast cancer, whose disease is lymph node positive, Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“It’s fantastic that thousands of women with this type* of primary breast cancer will now have an additional treatment option available on the NHS to help further reduce the risk of the disease coming back. 

“The fear of breast cancer returning or spreading to other parts of their body and becoming incurable can cause considerable anxiety for so many women and their loved ones. New effective treatments such as abemaciclib, which can offer more women the chance to further reduce the risk of the disease recurring, are therefore extremely welcome and this is an important step-change in the drug options available for this group of patients.

“It’s now important clinicians discuss this new treatment and the risks and benefits with eligible patients, giving them the information and support they need to make the decision that is right for them. Anyone seeking information and support can speak to our expert nurses by calling our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000.”

On the NICE process that has seen a positive recommendation for adjuvant abemaciclib following the first committee meeting, Baroness Morgan added:

“We’re delighted this decision has been reached as closely to marketing authorisation as possible and following only one NICE committee meeting.

“Unfortunately, far too often breast cancer drugs are receiving initial provisional rejections for use on the NHS and requiring multiple committee meetings. There is still work to be done to ensure positive outcomes can be reached quickly and NICE, NHS England and the pharmaceutical industry all have a role to play to ensure there are no avoidable delays for patients accessing new effective treatments.”

Notes to editors

* Abemaciclib (also known as Verzenios) with hormone (endocrine) therapy is recommended as an option after surgery for the treatment of hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative, node positive primary breast cancer where there is a high risk of recurrence. This high risk is defined as pathological tumour involvement in:

At least 4 positive axillary lymph nodes or
1-3 positive axillary lymph nodes, and:
Grade 3 disease or primary tumour size of at least 5cm