The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence will this morning issue a Final Appraisal Determination recommending Bayer’s Xofigo for National Health Service use to treat certain patients with prostate cancer, but only in the post-chemo setting.

The cost regulator has ruled that Xofigo (radium-223 dichloride) should be considered an option for treating adults with hormone-relapsed prostate cancer, symptomatic bone metastases and no known visceral metastases, who have received previous docetaxel therapy.

While welcoming the endorsement, Bayer also noted that, if the therapy is removed from the Cancer Drugs Fund, Scotland will remain the only country in which NHS patients can access Xofigo before they have been treated with chemotherapy.

Xofigo is the first alpha-particle emitting radioactive therapeutic agent recommended for use for the treatment of adult men with metastatic hormone relapsed prostate cancer within the NHS. Bone metastases are one of the main causes of mortality in these patients, and the availability of the drug will enable doctors and physicians to better manage the disease, said Bayer.

Clinical data show that Xofigo can significantly extend median overall survival compared to placebo (14.9 months versus 11.3 months, respectively), and there was also a delay in the time to first symptomatic skeletal event for patients treated with the drug, according to the firm.

“It is great news that patients now have some level of access to radium-223 on the NHS, as it will allow them to spend more time with loved ones in less pain,” says Hugh Gunn, Tackle Prostate Cancer. 

“However, there are clear disparities in access to this treatment as the Scottish Medicines Consortium very recently accepted the use of radium-223 for all eligible patients’ pre or post-docetaxel. There will be many patients who will feel let down by NICE’s decision, as we continue to battle the postcode lottery that exists in advanced prostate cancer care,” he added.