Next generation breast cancer drugs approved for NHS

In collaboration with the Press Association

The next generation of breast cancer drugs - aromatase inhibitors - have received final regulatory approval for use on the NHS in England and Wales, medical authority the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has said.

The drugs are approved for the treatment of oestrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) breast cancers in post-menopausal women.

Oestrogen, the female sex hormone, drives the growth of breast cancer in ER-positive breast cancers, which make up about for fifths of all cases.

The current 'gold standard' hormone therapy for ER-positive breast cancer, tamoxifen, works by preventing oestrogen from reaching cancer cells.

Aromatase inhibitors block the production of oestrogen altogether.

The ruling is expected to benefit around 23,000 women every year. Around 41,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK each year.