British Liver Trust welcomes SMCs decision to approve regorafenib for liver cancer patients

Posted on: 7th May 2018

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has accepted Stivarga® (regorafenib) for use as a monotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with Nexavar® (sorafenib).

Regorafenib is the first medicine to be specifically licensed for second-line use in patients with hepatocellular cancer (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib. It is taken orally and works by slowing down the growth and spread of cancer cells by cutting off the blood supply that keeps cancer cells growing.

“A diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is truly devastating – it is a horrendous type of liver cancer that is often diagnosed very late with few treatment options.  We are delighted that the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has accepted the Trust’s evidence on behalf of patients and agreed to the use of this drug for patients in Scotland. Evidence shows that outcomes for people with advanced liver cancer are particularly poor, so this is an important step.” said Judi Rhys, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust. “However, the decision highlights a two tier system where patients in other parts of the UK are denied access to this new treatment that can improve outcomes.”

The positive SMC announcement follows the recent decision from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to not recommend the use of regorafenib on the NHS in England.

HCC is the most common type of primary liver cancer. Liver cancer is a difficult-to-treat cancer with an annual mortality rate of 48,000 in the EU. Globally, it is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. In the UK, there are over 5,500 new cases of primary liver cancer diagnosed each year, which is around 15 patients each day.

The detailed advice document from the SMC can be seen here