In October 2017, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) proposed that ibrutinib would not be recommended for routine use on the NHS in England for mantle cell lymphoma that has relapsed (come back) or was refractory (didn’t respond) to previous treatments.
Mantle cell lymphoma is an uncommon type of high-grade (fast-growing) non-Hodgkin lymphoma(NHL). Around 500 people are diagnosed with it each year in the UK. Unlike many high-grade NHLs, mantle cell lymphoma is likely to relapse after it has been treated. People with relapsed and refractory mantle cell lymphoma have very limited treatment options. Ibrutinib has been available on the NHS for mantle cell lymphoma in Scotland since August 2016, and until now was available through the Cancer Drugs Fund in England.
A phase 3 trial showed that ibrutinib is effective and provides significant quality of life benefits for people with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma.
This treatment has already become an important option for people with mantle cell lymphoma.
We asked for your views on the proposal not to recommend ibrutinib and responded by asking NICE to reverse this decision and continue to allow people access to this effective new treatment.
In December 2017, NICE reversed its previous proposal and published a final appraisal determination recommending ibrutinib to treat people with relapsed and refractory mantle cell lymphoma if they have had only one previous line of therapy.
Jonathan Pearce, the Lymphoma Association’s CEO, commented saying, ‘It’s been a long time coming, but people affected by mantle cell lymphoma will be incredibly relieved that NICE, NHS and pharma have been able to find an agreement to make ibrutinib available in baseline commissioning on the NHS in England.’