A combination of Roche's Tecentriq (atezolizumab), carboplatin and etoposide has now been recommended as an NHS-funded option for untreated extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC), following an earlier rejection by cost regulators.

The change of heart follows consultation on NICE’s previous draft guidance which did not recommend the treatment, during which Roche agreed a new price for Tecentriq with NHS England and Improvement.

ES-SCLC is a form of lung cancer accounting for one in eight lung cancer cases in the UK. Around 2,400 people in England have the disease, of whom around 1,200 will eligible for treatment with the therapy.

According to NICE, clinical trial evidence suggests that Tecentriq with carboplatin and etoposide increases the time before ES-SCLC worsens by around one month compared with standard chemotherapy (5.2 months versus 4.3 months, respectively).

It also suggests that the combination increases overall survival compared with standard chemotherapy, but the long-term benefit on overall survival remains uncertain.

“Extensive-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer is an aggressive and unforgiving disease and there has been a requirement to bring new treatment options to these patients. This is the first advance in systemic treatment in decades and we are proud to have collaborated with the clinical community and NICE to ensure patients can benefit from this medicine,” said Gemma Boni, head of Lung Cancer, Roche Products Limited.

NICE expects to publish its final guidance on Tecentriq for ES-SCLC in June 2020.