Scotland approves the use of abiraterone in patients with high-risk non-metastatic prostate cancer

20 Jan 2023

NHS Scotland have approved the use of the drug abiraterone to treat patients with prostate cancer at high risk of spreading to other parts of the body. Evidence from the STAMPEDE trial, which showed abiraterone helped patients to live longer, was key to informing their decision. The approval was made official last Friday, 13th January 2023, by the National Cancer Medicines Advisory Group (NCMAG) Programme.

Abiraterone, a type of hormone therapy that improves the way traditional hormone therapies work, is currently licensed to treat people with aggressive prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, also known as high-risk metastatic disease. It is also approved to treat patients whose cancer has stopped responding to standard hormone therapy.

However, to date abiraterone has not been licensed to treat people with cancer that has not visibly but is at high-risk of spreading elsewhere in the body, also referred as non-metastatic disease. This changed last week, when NHS Scotland announced their support for using abiraterone for treating these patients.

To come to this conclusion, they carried out an extensive review looking at both clinical and cost-effective evidence of using abiraterone in this group of patients. The key information comes from the STAMPEDE trial, a clinical trial testing treatments for prostate cancer, that showed abiraterone for this group significantly reduced the risk of death or cancer spread after eight years of observation.

Approving the use of abiraterone for high-risk non-metastatic patients represents a big step forward towards improving outcomes for prostate cancer patients in Scotland. A decision on whether abiraterone might also be approved for the rest of the UK has not yet been made, but it is hoped across the clinical community that NHS England will follow.

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