NHS agrees on MSD interim colorectal cancer treatment

pharmafile | March 25, 2021 | News story | |  COVID-19, Cancer, MSD, NHS 

MSD has announced a provisional agreement with the NHS to make KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) available for eligible patients with metastatic MSI-H/dMMR colorectal cancer, as an interim treatment option during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

MSD’s pembrolizumab was granted a European license in January based on data from MSD’s KEYNOTE-177 study. The interim treatment guidance announced today will allow the use of pembrolizumab in England, within its licensed indication, for the first-line treatment of adult patients with metastatic MSI-H/dMMR colorectal cancer.

David Peacock, Managing Director at MSD UK and Ireland said: “With the unprecedented pressure the NHS is facing due to the COVID pandemic, we want to do all we can to support the NHS and ensure cancer patients and healthcare professionals have the very best treatments and care available to them.

“Everyone’s safety is paramount. With that in mind, MSD is pleased to be able to contribute by working with NHS England to extend this treatment option for eligible patients with metastatic bowel cancer.”

There are approximately 34,800 new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed in England every year, and following today’s announcement around 400 patients in England will now be eligible for treatment with pembrolizumab across a period of a year.

Dr Kai-Keen Shiu, Consultant Medical Oncologist at UCLH NHS Foundation Trust, Honorary Associate Professor in Oncology at UCL Cancer Institute and UK Chief Investigator for the KEYNOTE-177 trial said: “This is great news for our NHS patients, many of whom contributed to the success of this benchmark international trial of pembrolizumab as a 1st line treatment for MSI-High/MMR deficient metastatic bowel cancer.

“I am glad that we can now offer eligible patients a treatment option which has been shown in the KEYNOTE-177 trial to be more effective in terms of halting tumour progression than chemotherapy and shown to have more manageable side-effects. For some patients, access to this treatment option could truly be life-changing.”

NICE is currently assessing the potential use of pembrolizumab for routine use in the NHS for bowel cancer treatment and pembrolizumab will also shortly be undergoing review by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) for routine use within NHS Scotland for this indication.

Kat Jenkins

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