Packet of tablets

Future is certain for niraparib in recurrent ovarian cancer

Announcement that niraparib from second line of treatment for recurrent ovarian cancer will be available long term on the NHS in England and Wales.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today announced that niraparib from second line of treatment (for those with recurrent ovarian cancer) will be available long term on the NHS in England and Wales. 

This is the first ovarian cancer treatment to move from the Cancer Drugs Fund into routine commissioning (funded by NHS England and available for an unlimited time frame). This means that the future of niraparib in recurrent ovarian cancer is now certain. 

Reversing the initial decision 

Back in August, NICE made an initial recommendation to have second-line niraparib available only to people with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. We acted quickly to try and widen availability, and many of you shared your experiences of taking niraparib with us.

We took that evidence to NICE, and thanks to your dedicated efforts, we’re delighted to see this initial decision reversed. It means everyone with recurrent (second line treatment onwards), ovarian cancer who has not already accessed a PARP inhibitor can now access this innovative treatment.

How niraparib works

Niraparib is a type of drug called a PARP inhibitor and works by stopping cancer cells from repairing themselves. It’s a tablet, so can be taken at home, unlike other forms of ovarian cancer treatment which need a hospital visit. 

Annwen Jones OBE, Chief Executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said:

Routine commissioning for niraparib is an unprecedented event, and this news will bring security and reassurance to thousands affected by ovarian cancer. We hope this is the beginning of a story where we see all newer ovarian cancer treatments become available to everyone who needs them.

Annette, 64, from Worthing in West Sussex was diagnosed in January 2016. After her cancer came back (recurrence), Annette was offered niraparib as part of a clinical trial. It successfully kept her cancer markers down for three years. She said:

I was so pleased to be offered niraparib, it meant I could get back to living a near normal life. I’m delighted its availability is certain in the long term, this will give everyone affected by ovarian cancer hope and reassurance for the future.

Niraparib is also available from the very beginning (first line) of ovarian cancer treatment – this is a separate NICE guideline. Learn more about what cancer drugs may be available to you

This is a decision made by NICE in England. Wales and Northern Ireland usually follow decisions made by NICE. It’s already available in Scotland and this decision will not affect anyone who lives there.