Today, women diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer will have access to a life-extending drug called Niraparib, thanks to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Niraparib, also known as Zejula, is a maintenance treatment; it doesn’t cure ovarian cancer but it does prevent its progression. By delaying the spread of the disease, women can feel better and live healthier lives for longer, experiencing reduced symptoms. The increase in time between chemotherapy treatments also means fewer trips to hospital to receive treatment.
The treatment is available from today for women with platinum-sensitive high grade serous epithelial ovarian cancer, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer after response to first-line chemotherapy, regardless of genetic status.
We know from our community that after initial treatment ends, it can be an anxious time. Being able to access Niraparib at a much earlier stage of treatment will have a significant impact on quality of life. This will mean delaying progression of the disease from the start, rather than having to wait for it to recur or progress in order to be eligible.
Niraparib has been approved by NICE and made available through the Cancer Drugs Fund. Ovarian Cancer Action was one of several charities that contributed to the decision, by providing the committee with evidence from women as to how Niraparib improved their quality of life, and how important access to the drug is to them.
Cary Wakefield, Chief Executive of Ovarian Cancer Action says: “Today’s announcement marks a quantum leap for women with advanced ovarian cancer. Up until now, treatment options have sadly been extremely limited. Personalised medicine is now available to thousands of women and for many families this will be life-changing.”
To find out if you are eligible for Niraparib or another maintenance drug, speak to your gynae-oncologist.
You can learn more about PARP inhibitors in our next online discussion with Dr Jonathon Krell, here.