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New immunotherapy for women with advanced endometrial cancer

The NHS will roll out a new immunotherapy that could offer women with advanced endometrial cancer significant extra time before their disease progresses, compared with standard chemotherapy alone.

Trials have shown that adding dostarlimab (Jemperli) to chemotherapy can slow the spread of certain forms of endometrial cancer, giving patients the hope of more time to live well before their condition worsens.

The NHS will begin offering the treatment as of Tuesday 5 March, following approval by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and it is estimated that around 150-200 women living with advanced primary or recurrent endometrial cancer will be eligible each year.

‘The roll out of this drug as a first-line treatment on the NHS is great news for patients living with this type of womb cancer – this new immunotherapy could offer hundreds of women the hope of precious extra time to live well before their cancer progresses,’ said Professor Peter Clark, NHS England’s Cancer Drugs Fund Lead.

‘The NHS has fast-tracked this innovative treatment through the Cancer Drugs Fund, and we’re delighted that dostarlimab today becomes the latest in a long list of cutting-edge treatments available on the NHS to help people with cancer live well with a better quality of life.’

Dostarlimab is a type of immunotherapy known as a ‘checkpoint inhibitor’, which works by attaching to a specific protein (PD-L1) on the surface of the cancer cells, helping the body’s immune system to detect and attack them.

The treatment will be offered to women whose advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer has certain genetic profiles known as high microsatellite instability (MSI) or mismatch repair deficiency (dMMR), which are present in around a quarter of womb cancers.

The immunotherapy treatment is given intravenously every three weeks alongside chemotherapy for six cycles. In patients whose cancers have responded to the treatment, dostarlimab is then continued every six weeks for up to three years.

‘This new treatment for primary advanced or recurrent mismatch repair deficient endometrial cancer will provide options for patients currently facing the frightening reality of very few effective anti-cancer treatments,’ said Dr Chloe Barr, Trustee and Advocacy Lead at Peaches Womb Cancer Trust.

‘Today’s decision is very welcome news, and we hope that this is just the first step towards wider availability of more effective first-line treatment options for those affected by this devastating cancer.’