Zytiga approved for use in Wales

 Patients in Wales may soon be prescribed Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) for the treatment of metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer – weeks after NICE failed to recommend its use.

The All Wales Medicines Strategy Group recommend the treatment’s use in a positive final appraisal after Phase III data showed it improved median overall survival by 4.6 months.

Professor John Wagstaff, Personal Professor & Clinical Senior Lecturer in Oncology, Swansea University College of Medicine, says the approval is a “significant step forward” for men with the disease.

NICE came under attack from Cancer Research UK, who helped co-develop the drug, after it deemed the treatment to be too expensive to use on the NHS earlier this month in draft guidance.

Zytiga is indicated with prednisone or prednisolone for the treatment of metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer in adult men whose disease has progressed on or after a docetaxel-based chemotherapy regimen.

It has been shown to prolong life in the post-chemotherapy treatment of some men with metastatic prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, and then progressed after developing resistance to conventional hormonal therapies. Currently, there are few treatment options for patients in this stage of the disease.

“The availability of this medicine goes a long way towards fulfilling an important unmet need,” said Professor Wagstaff. “In my experience of using abiraterone acetate in the clinical trials programme, this medicine has both the potential to extend life, and also to improve a patient’s quality of life.”

Around 37,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK each year with around 10,000 deaths a year.