‘Gamechanging’ Endometrial Cancer Treatment offers hope to those with advanced or recurrent disease
Peaches Womb Cancer Trust welcomes today’s announcement to approve the use of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) with lenvatinib for the treatment of advanced and recurrent endometrial (womb) cancer in Scotland. The charity has hailed the announcement as ‘game-changing’, as it offers people in Scotland facing this diagnosis a more effective treatment, that will allow them to live longer with a potentially better quality of life.
Approximately 800 people in Scotland are diagnosed with endometrial cancer each year and around a quarter will die of their cancer. The approval of pembrolizumab, a novel type of cancer treatment called immunotherapy, and lenvatinib, a cancer growth blocker, will offer the potential for people with womb cancer to live an extended life in which they feel well, are independent and able to do the things that they enjoy.
Until today, there has been no standard second line treatment available to people with advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer. The most common treatment is chemotherapy, but this can have significant side effects and a huge impact on people’s quality of life. Response to chemotherapy is often poor, which means in the absence of alternative effective treatments, that the cancer is likely to get worse.
Pembrolizumab works by stimulating the body’s immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. Lenvatinib is a targeted treatment that blocks cancer growth. Recent studies have shown that the combination of pembrolizumab and lenvatinib resulted in better survival and a longer time period before the cancer began to grow again compared to second line chemotherapy (1). The availability of pembrolizumab and lenvatinib to treat advanced and recurrent endometrial cancer now means that there are more effective second line options available for women who do not respond to first line chemotherapy.
Peaches Womb Cancer Trust provided comment in support of this SMC appraisal, and we are delighted that it has been approved. This would not have been possible without the significant contribution from members of our Peaches Patient Voices group. To find out more about the work that we do, please visit our Peaches Patient Voices page or our social media channels.
The decision made by SMC applies to those living in Scotland. A decision is expected in England, early next year, followed by Wales and Northern Ireland.
Professor Emma Crosbie, Chair of Trustees of Peaches Womb Cancer Trust, said:
“This new treatment will benefit patients with advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer, who currently have very few effective anti-cancer treatments available to them. We desperately need more research to help us find new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating endometrial cancer.”
Dr Chloe Barr, Trustee and Advocacy Lead at Peaches Womb Cancer Trust said:
“Every year, people in Scotland are facing a diagnosis of advanced or recurrent womb cancer, and the frightening reality of very few treatment options that can improve their survival and quality of life. Those affected by womb cancer deserve more treatment options, and today’s decision is very welcome news. We hope that this is just the first step towards wider availability of more effective treatment options for those affected by this devastating cancer.”
Grace Teeling, 33, living with advanced endometrial cancer, said:
“I am delighted that pembrolizumab and lenvatinib has been approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium. I have been so fortunate to receive pembrolizumab for the past 12 months and it has been life-changing. I have had a really good response to the treatment. Pembrolizumab has also enabled me to live more normal life over the past year. I am able to work, do things I enjoy and live my life!”
Helen White, Peaches Womb Cancer Trust Volunteer and Patient Voices Lead, said:
“Getting access to newer, more effective second line treatments than chemotherapy has been a long time coming for all women with advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer. Approval of pembrolizumab and lenvatinib by the Scottish Medicines Consortium is a significant step forward, offering much-needed hope to women and their loved ones of living well for longer.”
- Makker V, Colombo N, Casado Herráez A, Santin AD, Colomba E, Miller DS, et al. Lenvatinib plus Pembrolizumab for Advanced Endometrial Cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. 2022;386(5):437-48.
- Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), Medicines advice: Dostarlimab (Jemperli®). Available at: https://www.scottishmedicines.org.uk/medicines-advice/dostarlimab-jemperli-full-smc2404/ [accessed 05/10/22]