Professor Tim Cooke, Breast Cancer Specialist, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, today welcomed the decision of the Scottish Medicines Consortium to recommend the use of Herceptin in early breast cancer.
He said:"Glasgow has been at the forefront of research into identifying patients who may be suitable for Herceptin therapy.Approximately one in five of our patients with early breast cancer will have the genetic abnormality in their cancer that will make them suitable for treatment with Herceptin.For this group of patients, treatment with Herceptin will halve the chance of their cancer coming back and significantly improve their chances of surviving breast cancer."
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has already been prescribing Herceptin to a small number of appropriate patients for the treatment of early breast cancer.However, the SMC's approval will now allow a wider group of patients to be treated with the drug.
Tom Divers, Chief Executive, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde added:"Today's approval for the use of Herceptin for will create an extra £2m expenditure for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.However, we have a ‘horizon scanning' system in place that identifies when treatment developments of this kind are likely to be introduced that enables us to plan for the resources to cover extra prescribing and diagnostic costs.
"NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is positioned well to see the uniformed roll out of this drug to assist in the treatment of suitable breast cancer patients over the coming months without having to find the funding from other existing frontline provision."
Notes to Editors
Herceptin is an antibody (a small component of the immune system) which is attracted to the HER-2 marker present on the cancer cells of one in five breast cancer patients.This signals to the patient's own immune system to attack the cancer cells, making them more vulnerable to destruction by chemotherapy.
The recent trials show that it can halve the risk of the cancer recurring when given at or shortly after the patient's initial chemotherapy.
Testing for the HER-2 marker is carried out routinely for all patients with invasive breast cancer in the West of Scotland and in the majority of Health Boards across Scotland.
For further information contact 0141 201 4429.