The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has expanded the treatment scope of Bayer's Xofigo so that prostate cancer patients not suitable for chemotherapy can now also access the therapy on the NHS.

The cost regulator previously recommended use of Xofigo only in patients who had already received docetaxel, so those not able to take the chemotherapy had to apply for access to the drug through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

NICE has been assessing the clinical and cost effectiveness of Xofigo - and other drugs currently in the old CDF - the a reform of the cancer drugs appraisal process.

As part of this, Bayer submitted updated cost-effectiveness analyses comparing radium-223 with the current care available for people who have not received docetaxel, and for whom docetaxel is unsuitable, which led the committee to conclude that it is also a cost-effective of use of NHS resources in this setting,

"Patients with prostate cancer will surely benefit from this drug being available for routine NHS use," Professor Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE. "I hope we'll see more drugs like this move into routine NHS use after companies have been able to better demonstrate cost-effectiveness."

"It is fantastic news that NICE has reversed its previous decision on radium-223 so that men who are too frail to be given chemotherapy can now benefit from the treatment on the NHS in England and Wales," said Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

"This is an exciting and innovative example of a smarter, kinder treatment – specifically targeting bone metastasis and prolonging survival, while reducing the pain and discomfort brought about by bone tumours and improving quality of life."