NICE has published draft guidance which recommends that nab-paclitaxel given with gemcitabine should not be funded by the NHS for previously untreated metastatic pancreatic cancer, because its limited benefits compared to current treatments do not justify its cost.
Nab-paclitaxel, which is given in combination with gemcitabine, is also known as Abraxane and is marketed by Celgene. It is a novel formulation of paclitaxel, a chemotherapy which works by blocking cell division and promoting cell death. In this formulation, paclitaxel is attached to albumin which helps it move through the walls of blood vessels. NICE is currently looking at how well nab-paclitaxel, given with gemcitabine, works for people whose pancreatic cancer has spread and who have not received any other treatments.
People with newly diagnosed pancreatic cancer are usually offered a combination treatment called FOLFIRINOX, but it can be associated with serious side effects and therefore can’t be given to everyone. When this is the case, other options include gemcitabine alone or with capecitabine.
Link to the press release from NICE: http://bit.ly/14ditPS