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We respond to new guidelines for the treatment of secondary breast cancer agreed at the Advanced Breast Cancer Sixth International Consensus Conference (ABC 6)

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“It’s encouraging that the number of people living longer with secondary incurable breast cancer is increasing due to the availability of new treatments.

"But much more still needs to be done to improve diagnosis, treatment and support so that everyone living with this devastating disease gets the best care and chance to live well, for as long as possible.

“People with triple negative secondary breast cancer can face shorter prognoses and fewer treatment options.

"So while it’s right these treatment guidelines1 set out that these patients should have access to new promising treatments, including Trodelvy2; in reality in England, despite licensing, not all eligible women are currently guaranteed access to Trodelvy in the coming months.

"That's because pharmaceutical company Gilead has failed to reach an agreement with NHS England.

“Instead, Gilead’s limited pre-reimbursement access scheme3 leaves hundreds of women with triple negative secondary breast cancer living with fear and anxiety, uncertain they’ll be able to access Trodelvy when they need it.

"We’re urgently calling for Gilead to reach an agreement with NHS England to guarantee equitable access for all eligible women who may need this vital drug ahead of a NICE decision on its routine use on the NHS in spring 2022. These women don’t have time to wait.”


Notes to editors

  1. The Advanced Breast Cancer International Consensus Conferences have been running for a decade, meeting every two years to share and discuss the latest research on ABC, and to update international guidelines on how best to treat patients. The new guidelines from this year’s meeting will be published in early 2022.
  2. Sacituzumab govitecan (Trodelvy) is a targeted (biological) therapy. It delivers a chemo drug straight to cancer cells which have the protein Trop-2 on their surface. This is the case in many types of cancer, including breast cancer. This treatment is suitable for patients with unresectable locally advanced or secondary triple negative breast cancer, who have had at least two prior therapies.
  3. The drug company Gilead has introduced a limited pre-reimbursement access scheme for Trodelvy following licensing which is free-of-charge. While Breast Cancer Now continues to have concerns about the limited nature of the scheme and risk of it becoming “first come, first served” for patients, we understand there is currently capacity within the scheme and would encourage clinicians to get in touch with the company if they have eligible patients.


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