NICE endorses dacomitinib for treatment of lung cancer

Vizimpro (dacomitinib) has been recommended as a first-line treatment option for patients with lung cancer.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Pfizer’s Vizimpro (dacomitinib) as a first-line treatment option for people with locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The once-a-day pill will be available on the NHS for adults who have tested positive for the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation.

This differs from the committee’s initial decision which found the tyrosine kinase inhibitor to not be a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

In clinical trials the treatment achieved overall survival rates of 34.1 months compared with 26.8 months from patients who took AstraZeneca’s Irissa (gefitinib), which is already recommended by NICE. It was also found to increase the length of time before the disease worsened – 14.7 months in contrast with 9.2 months for Irissa.

It was, however, noted that Vizimpro had a higher incidence of side effects than the AstraZeneca drug, so a lower dose may be needed.

“[The committee acknowledged that] dacomitinib had the potential to extend life for people with this type of lung cancer more than existing treatments currently available on the NHS,” said Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE. “Responsible pricing by the company has allowed our committee to reconsider their initial decision. This has led to the positive recommendation announced today, allowing patients to benefit from this innovative treatment on the NHS.”

Separately, NICE has also recently published guidance that does not recommend AstraZeneca’s drug Tagrisso (osimertinib) in the same patient population. The decision of which is being appealled by the pharmaceutical company.