UK patients with advanced prostate cancer have been given access to a new treatment that could prolong survival following the launch of Astella's Xtandi in the country.

Xtandi (enzalutamide) was licensed in Europe this month for the treatment of men with advanced prostate cancer whose disease has become resistant to first-line hormonal treatments and has progressed following docetaxel chemotherapy.

The green light came on the back of key trial data showing a 37% reduction of the risk of death versus placebo for patients taking Xtandi during the study, and that the pill can give men 4.8 extra months of life on average.

Xtandi's availability has been welcomed given that up to 20% of men develop resistance to first-line hormone treatment within five years of follow up, and options remain very limited.

But Drew Lindon, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Prostate Cancer UK, has called on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Scottish Medicines Consortium to make the drug routinely available on the NHS as swiftly as possible.

He has also urged Astellas to set a reasonable price for the drug to get it through cost-effectiveness assessments.

Local NHS providers are currently not obliged to pay for the drug, "and while men in England can apply for access through the Cancer Drugs Fund, others living elsewhere in the UK could be left at a disadvantage," Lindon notes.