COPDThe New Medicines Group (NMG), a subgroup of the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG), has issued a preliminary appraisal recommendation (PAR) for Abraxane® in combination with gemcitabine, for use within NHS Wales in a restricted group of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Currently, pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cancer killer in the UK with almost 8,800 people diagnosed each year. In Wales, approximately only one in six patients are surviving after one year following initial diagnosis.

Dr Kein Yim, Consultant Oncologist, Velindre Hospital, Cardiff said: “There has been a need for improving pancreatic cancer outcomes considering the poor prognosis of the disease and the lack of tangible developments for over a decade. Following the recent international phase III randomised trial showing improvement in overall survival with the use of nab-paclitaxel combined with gemcitabine in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, it is encouraging that this is acknowledged by the All-Wales Medicines Strategy Group, which has granted access for some patients to have this drug. However, there may still be a significant group of patients who will not be able to receive it.”

Pancreatic cancer is a difficult-to-treat cancer with the lowest survival rates among the major cancer types. Of those diagnosed, the one-year survival rate is approximately 15.7%, and the five-year survival rate is around 3.3%. Pancreatic cancer survival rates are the worst of any major cancer, with no improvement in five-year survival rates in the last 40 years. For those diagnosed with locally advanced disease, who don’t have surgery as an option, the average life expectancy is around eight to twelve months. Pancreatic cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the UK and over 8,800 people are diagnosed each year. Pancreatic cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in the UK.