The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published draft guidance recommending Pierre Fabre’s Nerlynx (neratinib) as an additional treatment for some people with early hormone-receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer.

The governing body announced that the drug is only recommended provided that Herceptin (trastuzumab) is the only HER2-directed adjuvant treatment people have had. For people who have had treatment before surgery to reduce tumour size, also known as neoadjuvant treatment), the draft guidance says they should still have signs of cancer in tissue samples - residual invasive disease in the breast or armpit, known medically as the axilla - following the neoadjuvant treatment to be eligible for treatment with Nerlynx.

NICE are “pleased to be able to recommend Nerlynx as a further treatment option for people with this type of breast cancer,” announced Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE. “Based on the benefits it provides in extending the time before the disease gets worse and on its important potential to reduce the risk of the cancer returning.”

He went on to explain that “Breast cancer remains the most common form of cancer in the UK, accounting for around 30% of all cancers in women. And although there have been advances in the treatment of early stage HER2-positive breast cancer, around a quarter of people treated with Herceptin following surgery will have a recurrence of their cancer.”

It is estimated that around 1600 people would be eligible for treatment following adjuvant treatment with Herceptin.