New therapy rolled out for patients with womb cancer

NHS England is to roll out a new life-extending combination therapy for patients with womb cancer, that can halt the progression of the disease for twice as long as chemotherapy.

The NHS has agreed commercial deals for two drugs from different manufacturers, which will be used in combination to treat advanced endometrial cancer in between 500 and 750 patients each year.

When used together, clinical trials have shown that pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) and lenvatinib (Lenvima®) can double the time taken for cancer to progress compared with the existing chemotherapy treatment, from just over three and half months to more than seven months.

The trial also showed longer survival for those taking the combination therapy.

As part of the combination treatment, pembrolizumab is delivered intravenously every three or six weeks while lenvatinib is two pills taken once a day.

NHS national cancer director Professor Peter Johnson said: “It is fantastic news that this innovative combination therapy can now offer a new lifeline to hundreds of women living with advanced endometrial cancer, giving hope of precious extra time to live with a better quality of life.”

“Now in its 75th year, the NHS is leading the world in making the latest treatments available through its unique commercial capabilities and commitment to innovation on behalf of patients and their families across the country.”

Minister for health Helen Whately said: “We are working with the NHS and world leading scientists to support new cancer treatments like these – improving the lives of hundreds of women diagnosed with womb cancer.

“Cancer survival rates are improving and record numbers of people are receiving treatment.

“But we know there’s more to do. That’s why today we announced our call for evidence to inform our Major Conditions Strategy – a plan to better diagnose and manage six conditions including cancer.”