SMC accepts chemotherapy-free VENCLYXTO for leukaemia treatment

pharmafile | May 11, 2022 | News story | Research and Development  

The SMC has accepted venetoclax in combination with obinutuzumab, for use within NHS Scotland, as a first-line treatment for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) without restrictions.

This treatment combination was previously restricted to patients without del (17p)/TP53 mutation when they were not fit to receive fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab (FCR) chemo-immunotherapy, and also for those with higher risk disease due to the presence of del (17p)/TP53 mutation.

The recommendation means that all patients with previously untreated CLL will now have access to a chemotherapy-free, 12-month, fixed-duration treatment that has been demonstrated to improve outcomes, giving patients the potential to live significantly longer without their disease progressing.

CLL is the most common type of chronic blood cancer, and there are an estimated 211 people per 100,000 diagnosed in Scotland every year. The decision means that eligible patients will have access to an additional initial chemotherapy-free treatment option, which offers a fixed-duration treatment period.

 Dr Mike Leach, consultant haematologist, The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, said: “Following the SMC’s decision to provide more CLL patients in Scotland with access to the venetoclax plus obinutuzumab combination therapy, this will mean a greater number of patients could benefit from a treatment option that can offer a deeper clinical response and extended remission as well as fewer chemotherapy-related side effects”.

Marc Auckland, chairperson, CLL Support, commented: “The SMC’s announcement to make venetoclax plus obinutuzumab combination therapy available to all eligible patients with CLL within NHS Scotland is welcome news.”

Belinda Byrne, medical director at AbbVie, added: “This development is an important milestone for patients living with CLL. As a company that is passionate about improving patient outcomes in blood cancer, we are delighted with the SMC decision to make venetoclax plus obinutuzumab available for eligible patients with CLL in Scotland. CLL is an area where there is high unmet need and few treatment options available, so we are proud to do our part to improve the treatment landscape for this patient community”. 

Lina Adams

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