Patients with advanced bowel cancer in England and Wales stand to gain routine access to a new treatment option after cost regulators backed NHS funding for Servier's Lonsurf.

The drug has been recommended for use - within its marketing authorisation - as an option for metastatic colorectal cancer in adults who have had previous treatments including fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin- or irinotecan-based chemotherapies, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) agents and anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) agents, or when these therapies are not suitable.

After applying end-of-life considerations to the appraisal, NICE concluded that, as a third‐ or subsequent‐line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer, Lonsurf (trifluridine/tipiracil) represents a well‐tolerated treatment that would help extend life by even a relatively short time, while maintaining a reasonably good quality of life at a late stage in the treatment pathway when there are no further options left.

Data from the Phase III RECOURSE study a statistically significant improvement in overall survival (OS) in patients taking the drug versus best standard of care, the median OS improving from 5.2 months 7.2 months, while one-year survival rates were 27.1 percent and 16.6 percent, respectively.

According to Servier, NICE backing for the drug comes at a time when there is a real need for further treatment options for patients with refractory metastatic colorectal cancer. "With the changing funding landscape for oncology agents within the UK, the addition of new products in later lines of therapy could be crucial to those patients".

"There are not many options left when a patient has had previous treatments," noted Dr Rob Glynne‐Jones, consultant oncologist and Macmillan Lead Clinician in Gastrointestinal Cancer at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre. "Lonsurf is potentially a valuable new drug that I can offer to my patients with metastatic colorectal cancer regardless of their RAS status or resistance to previous lines of treatment. It's great news that NICE has recommended Lonsurf ‐ because I now have a treatment that could give my patients some extra time".

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer‐related deaths in the UK and Europe; in 2012, 215,000 people died from the disease across Europe, 16,200 (44/day) of whom were from the UK, highlighting a high level of unmet need in the treatment of the disease.