Today the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), has extended access to olaparib, also known as Lynparza, so that all patients with a BRCA gene mutation can now benefit from the drug.
Olaparib is currently available for patients with a BRCA gene fault who are newly diagnosed and finished their first round of chemotherapy, and for patients who have had a second relapse. Crucially, previous approvals of olaparib excluded patients who had relapsed for the first time.
This news ends the unfair treatment gap where patients who did not access olaparib in their first round of treatment would have to wait for their ovarian cancer to come back twice before they could access a drug which significantly slows disease progression. Ovarian Cancer Action has been campaigning with other organisations to ensure the treatment is available for all patients who will benefit from it.
The benefits of delaying disease progression in ovarian cancer patients include a better quality of life, enabling them to enjoy time with loved ones, while increasing the time between treatments means a reduction in the number of hospital visits and disruption to daily life.
This news also reinforces the importance of ovarian cancer patients knowing their BRCA status. Currently, all women diagnosed with the most common type of ovarian cancer are entitled to genetic testing to find out if their disease was caused by a BRCA gene mutation. For more information about this visit our BRCA Hub.
Marie-Claire Platt, Head of Policy and Research welcomed the news: “It was grossly unfair that a small group of patients who did not receive olaparib in their first treatment would have to go through the agony of their cancer returning not once, but twice, before they could access this important drug. We are thrilled that access to olaparib has now been extended for all patients who will benefit from the drug.”