The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) draft guidance has recommended Roche’s Perjeta (pertuzumab) for a new breast cancer indication, after an improved price offer from the company.

The recommendation is for treating early HER2-positive breast cancer in people who have had surgery, and whose cancer has already spread to their lymph nodes (node-positive disease).

The drug given with Herceptin (trastuzumab) and chemotherapy is already recommended for treating early HER2-positive breast cancer before surgery (neo-adjuvant use). Also with Herceptin and Taxotere (docetaxel) for treating HER2-positive breast cancer that has either recurred in the breast following initial treatment or has spread from the breast to elsewhere in the body.

The evidence shows that adding the drug to Herceptin and chemotherapy after surgery (adjuvant use) increased the proportion of people whose disease didn’t spread. However, there is a lack of evidence on how long, if at all, adding Perjeta might increase the overall length of time people live, it was noted.

Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Assessment at NICE said: “We’re pleased that we’ve been able to work with the company to address the uncertainties of pertuzumab as a treatment for early HER2-positive breast cancer.

“Their response means that people who have a high risk of their cancer returning now have a new treatment option that could reduce the risk of that happening.”

In the previous draft guidance the committee had concluded that the uncertainty in the clinical effectiveness evidence made the cost-effectiveness estimates for the treatment uncertain.