Scottish regulator approves new lung cancer drug

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has welcomed the decision by the Scottish Medical Consortium (SMC), the Scottish medical regulator, to approve Tarceva, a new lung cancer drug.

Tarceva has been recommended for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer who have not responded to chemotherapy. NSC lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer.

While not lifesaving, the drug reduces symptoms, extends life and can be taken at home rather than requiring patients to stay in hospital.

"Although not a cure, the evidence from trials suggests that the drug increases one-year survival significantly for those with advanced disease," said Kate Law, head of trials at Cancer Research UK.

"Tarceva will also reduce some of the symptoms of lung cancer such as coughing and breathlessness, which can much improve a patient's quality of life.

"The drug has been selected by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence in England to go through its rapid appraisal process and a decision is expected by the end of this year."

Tests have shown that 31 per cent of patients receiving Tarceva were alive after one year compared to 20 per cent of people not on the drug.

Around 1,500 of the 4,500 diagnosed with lung cancer in Scotland every year are expected to benefit from the decision.