Roche has bagged NICE backing for Perjeta (pertuxumab) in the prevention of early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer from recurring after surgery, after three attempts.

The new draft guidance permits Perjeta to be given as an adjuvant therapy to patients with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes and who are higher risk of relapse. It is estimated that there are 2,700 patients eligible for this use.

The primary reason why Perjeta was rejected in earlier appraisals was there was little evidence that use of the drug actually led to extended survival rates.

Roche also permitted a confidential, and improved discount which help shift NICE’s opinion on the drug’s actual cost-effectiveness – Perjeta’s quality-adjusted life year (QALY) – which is now below the £20,000 threshold.

Perjeta had previously been recommended by NICE for use on the NHS in the treatment of early HER2-positive breast cancer before surgery – i.e. no adjuvant use – and additionally for breast cancer that has recurred in the breast or elsewhere in the body after initial treatment.

Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Assessment at NICE said: “We’re pleased that we’ve been able to work with the company to address the uncertainties of pertuzumab as a treatment for early HER2-positive breast cancer.

“Their response means that people who have a high risk of their cancer returning now have a new treatment option that could reduce the risk of that happening.”