UK patients with advanced kidney cancer will be disappointed by NICE's decision to stick with its rejection of Pfizer's new drug Inlyta for use on the National Health Service.

The cost watchdog said this morning that it would not recommend funding for the drug on the National Health Service after concluding that it would not be a cost effective use of resources.

Pfizer had been hoping to get Inlyta (axitinib) used by NHS in patients with advanced kidney cancer after failed prior treatment with its own Sutent (sunitinib) or a cytokine.

But according to Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE's chief executive, its Appraisal Committee was concerned with the validity and reliability of data from an ‘indirect’ and ‘simulated’ comparison of Inlyta with best supportive care, leading to the first rejection.

During a subsequent consultation period, Pfizer did present further data supporting the robustness and reliability of the results produced, as well as the impact of its previously offered and confidential patient access scheme.

"However, having taken this supplementary information fully into account following the consultation, the Committee still did not judge the use of axitinib to be a cost effective use of limited NHS resources,” Dillon said.

Too expensive

The Committee calculated the most plausible cost per QALY for Inlyta to be above £50,000 in patients previously treated with a cytokine, and £33,500-£52,900 (though thought be closer to the higher estimate) for those who had received sunitinib, and thereby simply too expensive for NHS use.

The decision leaves patients with limited options as there are currently no second-line drugs approved by NICE for the condition, although funding for Novartis' Afinitor (everolimus) is often requested through the Cancer Drugs Fund for this use.