A life-extending prostate cancer treatment will be available on the NHS, benefitting around 9,000 men.
The NHS in England will become the first healthcare system in Europe to roll out Darolutamide to patients requiring prostate cancer treatment. Previous studies have shown that this drug increased the chances of living longer by one-third in men who were previously left untreated.
Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, meaning there may be no signs for many years. It is largely unknown was causes prostate cancer, but certain risk factors increase your chance of diagnosis, including getting older, obesity or a genetic link. The type of prostate cancer treatment depends on individual circumstances.
What is Darolutamide?
Darolutamide, also known by its brand name, Nubeqa®, is already available on the NHS for some patients with localised prostate cancer; however, the prostate cancer treatment will now be offered to those with cancer that has spread.
It works by blocking androgen receptors in cancer cells, which blocks the effect of testosterone that allows the cancer cells to survive and multiply.
NHS England struck an early access deal following the UK medicines regulator, the MHRA, approved treatment through Project Orbis, which is an international partnership between medicine regulators in the UK, the US, Australia and others. The project aims to speed up the approval process for promising cancer treatments.
NHS executive Amanda Pritchard said: “It is fantastic that patients in England will be the first in Europe to receive this treatment for a really advanced and aggressive form of prostate cancer thanks to the NHS fast-tracking a new drug deal.
“The NHS is continuing to lead the way in securing the best possible treatments for patients – this is the latest in a long list of cutting-edge drugs that we have secured to help people to live longer with cancer, making a huge, life-changing difference to patients and their families across the country”.
New prostate cancer treatment to benefit thousands
Darolutamide is taken in tablet form with food and used in combination with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and docetaxel chemotherapy. Research from the ARASENS trial showed that patients were 32.5% less likely to die than with ADT and docetaxel alone.
Furthermore, after completing chemotherapy with docetaxel, patients will continue to have their original hormone therapy alongside darolutamide to keep testosterone levels low and ensure the treatment works.
The prostate cancer treatment will begin the extended rollout within weeks.
NHS National Director for Cancer Professor Peter Johnson said: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and it is vital the NHS continues to diagnose it as early as possible and uses the widest possible range of cutting-edge treatments to give people the best chances of surviving.
“This innovative treatment builds on the NHS ambition continuously to improve cancer care and survival rates, and will help thousands of men diagnosed with prostate cancer to live a better quality life and reduce their risk of dying.”