Tackle today welcomed NICE’s announcement that the new drug Enzalutamide is to be approved for men with hormone relapsed prostate cancer whose disease has progressed following docetaxel chemotherapy. This offers a vital lifeline to thousands of men facing ‘death sentences’ due to the very limited options for treatment if chemotherapy has failed. Enzalutamide has shown great success treating men with advanced prostate cancer beyond the stage at which conventional hormone treatment or docetaxel chemotherapy is effective.
Three months ago NICE issued a draft of this guidance in which the use of Enzalutamide was not approved after abiraterone, another hormone drug with a different mechanism of action. Evidence supporting this restriction was very thin, and it resulted in bitter complaint by thousands of patients, represented by Tackle and by Prostate Cancer UK. Tackle is very pleased that NICE responded positively to the submissions that it made against the restriction.
Sandy Tyndale-Biscoe, Chairman of Tackle, said: “Tackle is relieved NICE responded to the initial outrage and responses to the draft guidance. Finally this drug is available to improve and prolong life for those who have been anxiously waiting for several months. On the question of its use after abiraterone, which they mention but offer no guidance on, we would very much have preferred it if they had followed Wittgenstein’s dictum, and remained silent about that on which they felt they could not speak, but the main objective has been achieved and we are grateful for that. Our task, as patient-led support groups, is to ensure that the individual oncologists and local commissioners are aware of the effectiveness of enzalutamide whether or not abiraterone has previously been used”
Hugh Gunn, Treasurer of Tackle, and one of those men who has shown spectacular results after 18 months on Enzalutamide, said: “I faced an early death sentence having been taken off abiraterone as it was causing liver problems. I was lucky to be put on Enzalutamide. That was 18 months ago and now I feel generally well with a busy, active lifestyle. My PSA has settled down to a steady 0.7 and all of my other blood results are fine. I hope that this NICE ruling will now give other men the same chance of life as myself.”