21 Apr 2023

NOTE TO MEDIA: New treatment option for people with untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

Although we are not issuing a press release, we wanted to let you know that in final draft guidance published today (21 April 2023) NICE has recommended ibrutinib with venetoclax as an option for people with untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

An estimated 1,500 people per year will now be eligible for treatment with ibrutinib (also called Imbruvica and made by Janssen-Cilag) and venetoclax (also called Venclyxto and made by AbbVie).

Clinical evidence shows that people live longer and it increases the time before their cancer gets worse when taking this treatment combination compared with other treatments for CLL. It also generally causes fewer side effects.

In CLL, the bone marrow produces too many white blood cells called lymphocytes that aren't fully developed and don't work properly. Over time this can cause a range of problems, such as an increased risk of picking up infections, persistent tiredness, swollen glands in the neck, armpits or groin, and unusual bleeding or bruising. People with CLL may live with a considerable burden of symptoms impacting on their quality of life, whether or not they have received treatment.

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is the most common type of leukaemia in England, with 3,157 new cases diagnosed in 2017. It mostly affects people 60 years of age and over, is more common in men and is rare in people 40 years of age and younger.

Link - Project documents | Ibrutinib with venetoclax for untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia [ID3860] | Guidance | NICE

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