First immunotherapy for untreated, unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma recommended by NICE

pharmafile | July 14, 2022 | News story | Business Services  

Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) has announced that the NICE Final Appraisal Document (FAD) recommending the combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab for the first-line treatment of adult patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), in England and Wales.

This treatment combination is the first immunotherapy in over ten years to be made available via the NHS for the treatment of untreated, unresectable MPM. The NICE committee also recommended extending the guidance of nivolumab plus ipilimumab to treat rarer forms of mesothelioma found in the pericardium and peritoneum (the lining of the heart and abdomen respectively). 

“Mesothelioma is a devastating and hard to treat disease with people often diagnosed at a late stage and typically facing a poor prognosis. This decision from NICE has the potential to change the outlook for patients with MPM,” said Liz Darlison MBE, Chief Executive Officer, Mesothelioma UK. “We know that asbestos exposure causes the majority of MPM cases, and it is important that we continue to raise awareness of the symptoms and risk factors.”

Approximately 2,700 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the UK annually, with MPM representing the majority of mesothelioma cases (90%). The UK has the highest mesothelioma mortality rates globally, with the disease accounting for 1% of all cancer deaths across the nation. MPM is a form of mesothelioma that affects the chest and lungs and is often diagnosed late, giving patients an average of less than a year’s survival without treatment, as there are few early symptoms. 

“Typically, treatment can be difficult for MPM, which is frequently diagnosed at an advanced stage,” said Professor Sanjay Popat, Consultant Thoracic Medical Oncologist, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. “The decision from NICE is a big step in the treatment landscape for MPM. Not only do MPM patients have an alternative treatment option, but one that has demonstrated positive overall survival in comparison to chemotherapy.”

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