An innovative, new treatment for patients with a specific type of primary advanced or recurrent womb cancer has been recommended through the NHS’s Cancer Drugs Fund. This development means that patients will get early access to a treatment that may help them live longer lives.

Until today, there have been no new treatments for primary advanced and recurrent endometrial cancer for over 10 years.

Currently, the majority of patients are treated with chemotherapy with or without surgery or radiotherapy but, while many womb cancers show an initial response, the cancer often returns. This means survival time for patients with advanced or recurrent womb cancer is often poor.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has now recommended patients receive a type of immunotherapy called dostarlimab with chemotherapy as a combined first-line treatment.

Dostarlimab works by stopping the cancer hiding from the body’s immune system. This helps the body’s immune system to kill the cancer cells and stop the cancer growing.

This new treatment has been recommended for a specific type of advanced or recurrent womb cancer called mismatch repair deficient or microsatellite instability-high endometrial cancer.

Overall, 9,700 people in the UK are diagnosed with womb cancer every year. Over 2,500 are diagnosed with primary advanced (stage 3 or 4) cancer, and cancer recurs in a further 1,260 people. Around 2,500 people in the UK die each year from womb cancer.

Dr Chloe Barr, Specialist Registrar, Trustee and Advocacy Lead at Peaches Womb Cancer Trust, said:

“This new treatment for primary advanced or recurrent mismatch repair deficient or microsatellite instability-high endometrial cancer will provide options for patients currently facing the frightening reality of very few effective anti-cancer treatments.”

“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.”

“Peaches Womb Cancer Trust supported the NICE appraisal, and we could not have done so without the contributions of Peaches Patient Voices, a group of people affected by womb cancer whose powerful testimonies and experiences informed our submission to the appraisal process.”

While the decision currently applies in England, Peaches Womb Cancer Trust wants to see the treatment available across the UK.

Sue Woodburn, 65, from Kirkby Lonsdale, living with recurrent womb cancer, said:

“It’s hard to stay positive when you’re running out of options and living with cancer is taking its toll on your mental health. Dostarlimab has made a big difference for me. It has helped me to stay positive and hopeful that I will have a decent quality of life for a good few years yet.

“Dostarlimab allows me to have a treatment without the brutal side effects. It’s a treatment that doesn’t take over my life, that enables me to plan for the future. And it gives me belief that I might see my granddaughter start school. Now I’ve finished the chemo, I feel nearly back to normal. I’ve been able to travel – and have just come back from Rome. I am back biking, playing tennis and skiing – when I actually thought I would be dead by now.

“I feel so fortunate to have received this treatment – it has given me hope for the future. Cancer patients like me need hope.”