Roche’s Tecentriq will be routinely available on the NHS in England and Wales to patients with advanced, pre-treated bladder cancer, following a nod from cost-regulators.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is endorsing the drug’s use in patients whose disease has progressed during or after treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

The guidelines stipulate that treatment with Tecentriq (atezolizumab) is stopped after two years of uninterrupted treatment or earlier, or if the disease progresses.

Also, Roche must provide the drug to the NHS with the discount agreed in the confidential patient access scheme.

Welcoming the decision, Allen Knight, chairman of Action Bladder Cancer UK, noted that bladder cancer affects around 10,000 people each year in the UK and in its advanced has just a 15 percent five-year survival rate.

“Bladder cancer has been seriously neglected for a long time and until recently there has been no significant new treatment options for patients in over 30 years. We welcome this news for patients with advanced bladder cancer.”

Roche says the decision, which follows an earlier negative positive from NICE back in December in an appraisal consultation document (ACD), is based on the “totality of evidence” from the Phase II/III IMvigor210 and IMvigor211 studies, which demonstrated the clinical efficacy and safety of Tecentriq versus therapies currently provided to patients in this setting.

A company spokesperson also confirmed to PharmaTimes: “Since the ACD, we have updated our commercial offer and agreed the implementation of the two-year stopping rule for treatment with atezolizumab in this setting. This treatment stopping rule is consistent with the NICE recommendation for atezolizumab in 2L NSCLC and the recommendations for other cancer immunotherapies.”

Tecentriq blocks PD-L1 – an important ligand found on the surface of cancer cells that camouflage them from detection and destruction by the immune system.