Final guidelines have now been published endorsing NHS use of Novartis’ Zykadia as a first line of attack for anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), offering patients a new treatment option.

Clinical trials have shown a 45 percent reduction in the risk of disease progression in patients taking Zykadia (ceritinib) versus those taking chemotherapy.

Those treated with first-line Zykadia had a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 16.6 months compared to 8.1 months for patients treated with standard first-line pemetrexed-platinum chemotherapy with pemetrexed maintenance.

The drug also showed a benefit in patients with brain metastases with a median PFS of 10.7 months compared to 6.7 months in the chemotherapy arm.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has concluded that in addition to its clinical benefit Zykadia also offer the NHS value for money.

Taking confidential patient access schemes into account, the incremental cost effectiveness ratio for Zykadia was between £20,000 and £30,000 per QALY gained compared with Pfizer’s Xalkori (crizotinib), thus falling under the maximum threshold.