Introduction

The drug vismodegib (trade name: Erivedge) has been approved in Germany since July 2013 for adults with advanced basal cell carcinoma. Vismodegib is a treatment option if:

  • a locally advanced basal cell tumor cannot be surgically removed or treated with radiotherapy, or
  • the tumor has spread to other organs, and the new ("metastatic") tumors are causing symptoms.

Basal cell carcinoma (basal cell cancer, basalioma) is the most common type of skin cancer. In most cases it develops on the face, the nape of the neck or other parts of the head that are regularly exposed to sun. It is more common in older people. When basal cell carcinoma is discovered, it can usually be surgically removed completely. It only rarely spreads to other parts of the body.

The drug aims to inhibit tumor growth, thereby preventing the disease from progressing.

Application

Vismodegib is taken once a day in tablet form (150 mg).

Other treatments

For people with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma that cannot be surgically removed or treated with radiotherapy, the standard treatment is best supportive care (BSC). Supportive care should be tailored to the patient's individual needs, relieve symptoms such as pain, and improve quality of life.

If the tumor has spread to other parts of the body and is causing symptoms, surgery or radiotherapy might be considered in addition to supportive care.

Assessment

In 2016, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) wanted to find out which advantages and disadvantages vismodegib has compared to standard treatments for the above-mentioned groups.

But the manufacturer did not provide any suitable data with which to answer this question.

More information

This information summarizes the main results of a review produced by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). The review was commissioned by the German Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) as part of the “early benefit assessment of medications.” On the basis of the review and the hearings received, the G-BA passed a resolution on the added benefit of vismodegib (Erivedge).

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