In a turnaround from its earlier position, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is now endorsing NHS funding for Eisai’s Kisplyx plus everolimus for kidney cancer.

The combination is being recommended as an option for treating advanced renal cell carcinoma in adults who have had one previous treatment with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-targeted therapy - but only if the patient’s Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status score is 0 or 1 and the company provides Kisplyx (lenvatinib) with the discount agreed in the patient access scheme (PAS).

In earlier draft recommendations, NICE’s committee had concluded that there were uncertainties in the clinical evidence for Kisplyx plus everolimus (Novartis’ Afinitor) and that the combination was not cost effective.

While trial data suggest that the combination boosts the length of time people live by 10.1 months versus everolimus alone, results were unreliable because the main trial included just a small number of patients, it noted.

However, a further submission from Eisai allowed it to determine that the drug is indeed a cost-effective option for the NHS.

According to the Institute, the cost-effectiveness analyses for lenvatinib plus everolimus show it’s more effective and less costly than standard therapies cabozantinib (Ipsen’s Cometriq) and nivolumab (BMS’ Opdivo).