Saturday, June 22, 2024

NICE Recommends Pembrolizumab for Hodgkin Lymphoma and Certain Refractory Cases

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has updated its recommendations for pembrolizumab (Keytruda) as a treatment option for relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma in individuals aged three and older. This endorsement is specifically for those who have undergone at least two prior treatments and are unable to undergo an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT).

Pembrolizumab is approved under the condition that it is administered after the patient has previously received brentuximab vedotin, another targeted therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma. Treatment with pembrolizumab should be discontinued after two years or earlier if the patient undergoes a stem cell transplant or if the disease progresses.

Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment Enhanced: Pembrolizumab Access Expanded with NHS Agreement

This guidance comes after a reevaluation of data under a managed access agreement, which included clinical trial data and real-world outcomes from patients treated within the NHS. Previously, the standard care for such patients included chemotherapy and radiotherapy after brentuximab vedotin. Pembrolizumab offers an alternative that, according to indirect comparisons, could potentially extend patient survival.

There is a commercial access agreement in place for pembrolizumab, ensuring that NHS organisations can acquire the drug under a negotiated framework that includes a confidential discount. The listed price per 100-mg vial of pembrolizumab is £2,630, excluding VAT.

Hodgkin Lymphoma

NICE Endorses Pembrolizumab, Enhancing Treatment Options for Challenging Cases

The decision by NICE underscores the evolving landscape of treatment for classical Hodgkin lymphoma, particularly for patients with limited options due to previous treatment resistance or ineligibility for stem cell transplantation. The committee’s endorsement reflects a balance of the drug’s cost-effectiveness and its potential benefits in terms of quality and length of life.

Pembrolizumab’s approval for this indication also highlights the importance of ongoing research and adaptive treatment pathways in oncology, addressing the needs of patients who have exhausted other options. The NHS is expected to integrate this treatment option into routine commissioning swiftly, adhering to the guidelines set out by NICE to ensure that eligible patients have timely access to this potentially life-extending therapy. This development is a significant step in personalized medicine for Hodgkin lymphoma, offering hope and a new therapeutic avenue for patients and their families navigating this challenging disease.


Resource: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, May 01, 2024

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