The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Pfizer’s Ibrance (palbociclib), through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), for use in combination with fulvestrant for the treatment of women with hormone receptor positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-) locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer, who have received prior endocrine therapy.

Pfizer announced that the recommendation is based on data from the Phase III clinical trial, PALOMA-3, in which Ibrance delayed disease progression by 6.6 months, compared to fulvestrant alone.

On the announcement of the news, the drug combination will be available on the NHS immediately, for use in those who have already had earlier rounds hormone therapy for their advanced disease.

Pfizer also revealed an estimation that as many as 3,200 women in England living with advanced HR+, HER2- breast cancer will now be eligible for the treatment.

In the advanced stages of the disease it is incurable, and in the UK only 15% of women will live beyond five years, meaning there is a real need for innovative treatment options that can delay disease progression and help women feel well for longer.

The news is “good news for patients” according to Professor Nicholas Turner, Professor of molecular oncology at The Institute of Cancer Research, as “This class of medicine remains one of the most important breakthroughs in breast cancer in the last two decades and palbociclib has been shown to slow tumour growth and maintain quality of life, both of which are incredibly important to women living with this type of breast cancer. Today’s news will be warmly welcomed by patients and doctors alike.”

The first-in-class, cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitor works by inhibiting tumour cell growth.