Tuesday, April 21, 2020


We’re delighted to announce that a new drug, larotrectinib, has been approved for the treatment of certain sarcomas in England.

Made available for use by the Cancer Drugs Fund and approved by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) larotrectinib is a new type of ‘histologically-independent’ drug that targets tumours based on their genetic makeup.

It works by targeting the specific NTKR genetic abnormality in tumours meaning patients are treated according to the genetics of their tumour rather than where it is in the body.

As Bradley Price, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Sarcoma UK, explains ‘this is key for cancers like sarcoma which can develop in any part of the body and can be difficult to treat with traditional therapies like surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.’

The approval of larotrectinib marks the first new drug available to sarcoma patients since regorafenib in autumn 2017. While the number of sarcoma patients expected to be eligible for the drug is low, owing to the genetic abnormality it targets being so rare, the approval of larotrectinib sets an important precedent for using this type of targeted treatment.

‘Sarcoma UK welcomes today’s approval of larotrectinib. With novel treatments few and far between, larotrectinib is a welcome addition to the available therapies for sarcoma as well as to treat other tumour types, like lung and colorectal cancer’ Bradley says.

‘Eligible patients, who may well have no other treatment options, will now have access to more personalised treatments which target genetic changes that cause many types of cancers to grow and spread.’

If you have any questions about larotrectinib or any form of sarcoma treatment the Sarcoma UK Support Line is here to help. You can call weekdays 10am-2pm or email or text anytime. 

More information on Sarcoma UK's policy work