A life-extending treatment for some adults with advanced liver cancer has been recommended for use on the NHS by NICE after a rapid review of guidance published earlier in the year.

The drug Regorafenib (also called Stivarga and made by Bayer) can now be offered to people with advanced liver cancer if their liver is working well but the diseased area can’t be surgically treated, and if they have already taken the life-extending medicine Sorafenib.

People must also have an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or one, which means that they are fully active and able to carry out normal activities of daily life without restriction, or they are restricted in physically strenuous activity but able to carry out work of a light or sedentary nature.

Meindert Boysen, Director for the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said, ‘Regorafenib is an important treatment option to extend the lives of people with previously treated advanced hepatocellular carcinoma after they’ve already been prescribed Sorafenib.

‘We are pleased that the company has responded by seeking a rapid review of our original guidance and offered a price that allows us to conclude that the drug is cost-effective for routine use on the NHS in England and Wales.’

Judi Rhys, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust, said, ‘Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common form of liver cancer. It is particularly aggressive, with the five-year survival rate being on average only 12 per cent and a diagnosis is therefore devastating for the patient and their families.

‘There are also very few effective treatments so the decision to approve Regorafenib for routine use in England and Wales is a welcome step forward. Access to the drug will potentially provide patients with valuable extra time with their loved ones.’
Regorafenib will benefit a few hundred patients each year after the positive recommendation made by NICE’s independent appraisal committee.