Following an earlier negative decision NICE is now recommending NHS use of Roche’s immunotherapy Tecentriq for lung cancer.

The guidelines endorse use of the drug to treat patients with non-small cell lung cancer whose disease has progressed following standard chemotherapy.

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.

Clinical data showed that people with NSCLC treated with Tecentriq (atezolizumab) lived a median of 13.8 months, 4.2 months longer than those receiving standard chemotherapy, while also experiencing less side effects.

“We are delighted that NICE has revised its decision, meaning that people living with this devastating form of cancer will now have access to a much needed treatment," said Simon Eayrs, integrated franchise lead at Roche Products Ltd.

“This decision proves that patients are able to get access to new and innovative treatments when all parties work together to find a practical solution.”

Over 46,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year, of which around 87 percent are NSCLC. The prognosis for patients is largely bleak, with less than 5 percent surviving for ten years.

“Although by far the most common cause of cancer death in the UK, lung cancer still remains a much overlooked condition,” said Paula Chadwick, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s chief executive.

“It’s particularly exciting that atezolizumab is applicable for patients with such a wide variety of types of non-small cell lung cancer. While extending life as much as possible is a huge priority for patients, their quality of life is equally important. There is a need for treatments that will improve survival, without compromising the additional time added. This decision by NICE recognises these factors, and we welcome it.”