Closeup of a researcher looking at agar plates

Towards more choice: new drug rucaparib now available

New ovarian cancer drug rucaparib (Rubraca®) is now available on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) today announced a third ovarian cancer drug, PARP inhibitor rucaparib (Rubraca®), is now available to women with ovarian cancer from after a second round of chemotherapy. It will be available both for women who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation and those that do not.

Rucaparib is the newest PARP inhibitor to be made available (the others are niraparib (Zejula®) and olaparib (Lynparza®). PARP inhibitors work by stopping cancer cells from repairing themselves, effectively crippling them. They are maintenance treatments, drugs given after chemotherapy to try to stop or slow the growth of the cancer. 

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

For too long ovarian cancer treatment options beyond chemotherapy or surgery have been limited, and today’s announcement means that women with ovarian cancer have more choice in their treatment than ever before. The fact that women will now have a choice of PARP inhibitors, choosing the treatment best suited to them and their needs, is an incredibly important development.

Today’s announcement means women with ovarian cancer who have responded well to platinum chemotherapy (this is described as being platinum-sensitive) will have greater choice in their treatment. We know there are too few treatment options for women whose cancer has become resistant to platinum chemotherapy, and we will continue to campaign for better access to new ovarian cancer treatments, particularly those that will benefit women whose ovarian cancer has become resistant to platinum chemotherapy.

Rucaparib is available from today on the Cancer Drugs Fund in England. We expect it to be available on the same basis in Wales and Northern Ireland. It is currently under consideration by the Scottish Medicines Consortium and we will bring updates as soon as we have them.