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SMC approves Bortezomib

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

  • medication

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has now approved bortezomib for use within NHS Scotland. The drug, marketed by Janssen-Cilag as Velcade®, should soon be available to patients with previously untreated mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a rare, high grade form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The number of new MCL cases in the UK each year is about 510, with approximately 40-45 patients diagnosed in Scotland annually. It develops quickly and, if not treated, grows quickly. Lymphoma affects types of white blood cells called lymphocytes – “mantle cell” describes the type of lymphocyte that is affected. The cancer starts in the lymph glands or other parts of the lymphatic system.  It occurs when some of the white blood cells divide in an abnormal way and do not die as and when they should. These abnormal cells can collect in the lymph nodes which then enlarge as tumours form. Mantle cell lymphoma is normally treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

The SMC has decided to recommend “bortezomib for use in combination with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and prednisone for the treatment of adult patients with previously untreated mantle cell lymphoma who are unsuitable for haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).”

The SMC approval follows a study which showed that in adults with previously untreated mantle cell lymphoma (who were unsuitable for stem cell transplant), bortezomib (in combination with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and prednisone) increased the duration of survival without progression of cancer more than a treatment regimen containing rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone (R-CHOP).

Bortezomib offers patients who currently have limited treatment options a potential improvement in both life expectancy and quality of life. It is also currently under review by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for NHS patients in England and Wales

Monica Izmajlowicz, Leukaemia CARE Chief Executive, has commented:

 “The decision by the Scottish Medicine Consortium (SMC) to recommend bortezomib for this indication is a welcome one as mantle cell lymphoma patients in Scotland will soon have access to this effective treatment option. It is hoped that NICE will make the same decision to enable access for NHS patients in England and Wales.”

If you could be affected by any of these changes and would like to speak to somebody, please call our CARE line on 08088 010 444.