Cancer Research UK "disappointed" at Tarceva decision

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has expressed its disappointment at the preliminary decision of medical regulator Nice to not make lung-cancer drug Tarceva available on the NHS.

While not a cure, the drug is one of the only significant advances in the past decade against 'non-small cell' lung cancer ? an aggressive and hard-to-treat form of the disease .

Alex Markham, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said that Tarceva had been shown to significantly extend the lives of non-small cell lung cancer patients.

"The results of ongoing clinical trials using Tarceva - funded by Cancer Research UK and others - are expected to reveal further important comparative information about the likely benefits of the drug," said Professor Markham.

"In the meantime we believe the drug should continue to be made available to those who could benefit from it.

"Tarceva is used as a standard treatment in many other European countries. It is also available to certain patients in Scotland and it would be incomprehensible for such a drug to be available to patients in Edinburgh but not Newcastle."

Professor Markham added that Cancer Research UK would write to Nice expressing its opposition and calling for a reappraisal of its decision.