The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published an appraisal consultation document (ACD) recommending the use of Kisplyx (lenvatinib), the oral multiple receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor discovered by Eisai, plus pembrolizumab (Keytruda), MSD’s anti-PD-1 therapy.

The therapy is as an option for untreated intermediate or poor-risk advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in adults, in circumstances when nivolumab with ipilimumab would otherwise have been offered. This follows the Scottish Medicines Consortium’s positive recommendation of the combination for advanced RCC.

The combination will receive interim funding in England via the Cancer Drugs Fund until publication of the technology appraisal guidance, which is expected early 2023.

Lenvatinib is indicated for the treatment of adults with advanced renal cell carcinoma in combination with pembrolizumab, as first-line treatment. RCC is the most common type of kidney cancer, accounting for approximately nine in ten kidney cancer cases in the UK.

Between 2013 and 2017, approximately one third (36%) of people in the UK diagnosed with kidney cancer – and followed up with until 2018 – were diagnosed at an advanced or metastatic stage of the disease.

“We are happy to have supported Eisai’s clinical trial programme, to help develop this alternative first-line combination therapy and are delighted to see NICE deliver a positive ACD, now making this treatment available to patients across England,” reflected Professor Thomas Powles, director of Barts Cancer Centre. “With more treatment options available to patients in more countries, we can provide personalised care plans that align more closely to their needs.”

Nick Turkentine, chief operating officer at Kidney Cancer UK, added: “We are delighted that NICE is recommending this alternative first-line combination treatment option for patients living with advanced kidney cancer across England. We know through our annual Kidney Cancer UK patient survey that 42% of patients in the UK are diagnosed at an advanced stage when survival rates are typically lower.

“Having this combination option available through the Cancer Drugs Fund is great news which will be welcomed,” he concluded.