Around 4,000 women with breast cancer could benefit from a new NHS-approved twice-daily pill.

The Breast Cancer Now association has welcomed the decision of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) to offer women abemaciclib, which reduces the risk of disease recurrence once the tumor withdrawn.

The drug, made by Eli Lilly, is suitable for people with hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative and lymph node early breast cancer at high risk of recurrence who have had surgery.

Results of a clinical trial showed that people taking abemaciclib with hormone therapy had more than a 30% increased chance that their cancer would not come back after surgery compared to hormone therapy alone.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Now, said: “It’s fantastic that thousands of women with this type of primary breast cancer now have an additional treatment option available on the NHS to help further reduce the risk of recurrence of the disease.

“The fear that breast cancer will come back or spread to other parts of their body and become incurable can cause considerable anxiety for so many women and their loved ones.

“Effective new treatments such as abemaciclib, which may offer more women the opportunity to further reduce the risk of disease recurrence, are therefore extremely welcome and a significant change in the drug options available. for this group of patients.

Helen Knight, Acting Director of Drug Evaluation at Nice, said: “Today’s positive draft recommendation, which comes less than a month after abemaciclib received its license, is an excellent news.

“The fact that we were able to produce draft recommendations so quickly is a testament to the success of our ambition to support patient access to clinically and cost-effective treatments as soon as possible.

“Until now, there was no targeted treatment for people with this type of breast cancer.

“Abemaciclib plus hormone therapy represents a significant improvement in how it is treated, as being able to receive targeted treatment sooner after surgery will increase the chances of curing the disease and reduce the likelihood of developing an incurable advanced disease.”

About 50,000 people a year are diagnosed in England with breast cancer.

HER2-negative breast cancer is the most common type, accounting for about 70% of all breast cancers.

It is estimated that early breast cancer comes back after initial treatment in about 30% of people.

Professor Peter Johnson, Director of Cancer at NHS England, said: “Thanks in part to this latest agreement reached by NHS England, NHS patients will be able to access another new targeted drug for a common and aggressive form of breast cancer. breast.

“Abemaciclib, when used in combination with hormone therapy, offers a new dual-targeted treatment option, helping to increase the chance of beating cancer for good, while delivering on the NHS commitment to provide improved care. against cancer as part of our long-term plan.”