Bayer’s Nexavar recommended for thyroid cancer in EU

An extra cancer indication for Bayer’s Nexavar was among the latest set of drug recommendations from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Although the Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) this month backed just one new drug in the form of GlaxoSmithKline’s skin cancer drug Mekinist (trametinib), it recommended seven licence extensions for already-approved drugs, including the use of Nexavar (sorafenib) in people with advanced thyroid cancer.

If sanctioned by the European Commission the indication would add to Nexavar’s existing recommendations in the liver and kidney cancer.

The latest indication specifically covers the use of Nexavar to treat advanced forms of differentiated thyroid cancer, the third most common type of thyroid cancer. Around 37,000 new cases of thyroid cancer were reported in 2012 and over 3,600 people died from the disease.

There are few current treatment options for the cancer, which is generally treated with radioactive iodine, surgery and therapy to suppress thyroid-stimulating hormone.

As such, Nexavar’s recommendation could be an important step in the field, and covers its use in patients who no longer respond to treatment with radioactive iodine.

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