Medicines

PBAC to consider pan-tumour indications for immunotherapy


A special meeting of PBAC will be held on 17 August to consider options for PBS listing of PD-L1 immunotherapies across multiple tumour indications.

Equity of access to immunotherapies has dominated cancer medicines discussions since they first became available and shown to transform management of cancers with previously dismal prognosis such as advanced melanoma.

Last year the US FDA granted accelerated approval to pembrolizumab for patients with solid cancers on the basis of tumour biomarkers rather than tumour origin.

And Health Minister Greg Hunt appears to have been listening to calls for Australian regulatory and reimbursement processes to adopt a similar ‘tumour agnostic approach’.

However it might not be all smooth sailing.

“In its initial consideration of the opportunities and challenges associated with progressing pan-tumour indications for PDL1 cancer immunotherapies the PBAC has noted that while it is likely that PDL1 inhibitors will be useful for treating a range of cancers, the limited trial results it has considered to date suggest that treatment responses are not uniform across different types of cancers, different ages and different patient populations,” a health department statement said.

“In addition, the results for different immunotherapies have been inconsistent as to whether it is necessary to classify patients by PDL1 tumour marker expression for effective treatment.”

People and organisations wanting to make a submission to the meeting can register their interest with the PBAC Secretariat.

The closing date for submissions is 30 March 2018.

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