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Half a million cancer patients in EU use targeted drugs

New data also shows breast and lung cancers are among the most treated in Europe

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More than 500,000 patients across the five largest European countries have been treated with a new form of personalised cancer drug, according to new research.

French healthcare information firm Cegedim looked at the top five European Union countries (in terms of population): UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, and their experience in treating the disease.

It found that between 500,000 and 600,000 patients are currently treated with targeted therapies in these countries, all of which have a total population of around 320m.

In the five countries studied, Cegedim's analysis found targeted therapies represent an average of 32% of all cancer drugs used - the remaining 68% being cheaper chemotherapy drugs and hormonal treatments, whose data the study did not collect. 

The report was conducted by anonymised patient information collected through electronic case report forms (e-CRF) from a quarterly panel of 1,400 specialists.

The analysis is based on 110,000 patient cases (ie, raw data) and covers a 12-month period in 2014 using projected data. 

The report also found that Germany had the highest rate of target therapy use (36%) compared to the other countries.

Breast cancer is the most commonly treated, accounting for around 16% of all tumours across all five countries. 

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was a close second, although the rates of targeted drug use for the disease varied greatly among the individual countries.

In France the use was 15% while it was 12.3% in Italy and Germany, but 11% in Spain and only 7.1% in the UK.

In fact the UK had the lowest level of cancer patients using these new types of treatments, with 67.9%. Spain had the highest level at 71.9%, followed closely by Italy with 71.6%. 

Cegedim says that these differences are influenced by the launch dates of the drugs, as well as the health authority and market access policies in each country.

Patients with pancreatic cancer, for which there are few personalised drugs licensed in Europe, made the least use of personalised medicines, with only around 2.5% of patients across the five countries receiving new treatments for the disease.

Article by
Ben Adams

13th February 2015

From: Research, Healthcare

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