NICE guidance for treating relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma

pharmafile | March 16, 2022 | News story | Research and Development  

NICE has published guidance from the new cancer drug, daratumumab, for the treatment of relapsed and refractory myeloma. Around 350 people a year are set to benefit from the new monotherapy, following the publication of the guidance.

Multiple myeloma is a rare form of cancer in plasma cells, found in bone marrow. New real-world evidence assessed by NICE’s appraisal committee indicates that compared with standard treatment, daratumumab monotherapy increased patient life expectancy.

Relapsed, or recurrent multiple myeloma, is the term for cancer returning following treatment or a period of remission. As multiple myeloma does not currently have a cure, most patients will relapse at some point. Multiple myeloma is cancer of mature plasma cells in the bone marrow. This can cause bone pain in the chest or spine, fatigue, nausea, constipation, frequent infections, and weight loss. Increased levels of protein in the body can also cause kidney damage, and multiple myeloma can also weaken the immune system and increase susceptibility to infection.

Treatments include medication, radiotherapy, or bone marrow transplants. Refractory multiple myeloma refers to when the cancer does not respond to therapy.

The new real-world evidence informing the draft guidance also indicates that daratumumab is well tolerated in patients, and improves quality of life, as it requires less time spent in hospital due to a shorter administration time. The monotherapy also allowed people to receive other treatments, further along in their care pathway.

The drug is a monoclonal antibody administered by an injection, working by attaching itself to a protein on the cancer cells, which triggers an immune response.

Daratumumab was first recommended by NICE as an option for adults with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma in 2018, within the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Ana Ovey

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