A cancer drug that the late Jane Tomlinson's husband said should be made widely available has been launched in the UK.

Lapatinib can prolong the lives of women who are suffering a type of advanced breast cancer, called HER2 positive, by stopping the disease growing. About a quarter of women with the cancer have HER2 positive.

The drug is for women whose advanced disease has stopped responding to Herceptin.

Also known as Tyverb, the drug has received its European licence, making it available on private prescription in the UK.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence will assess it before deciding if patients can get it on the NHS.

Mrs Tomlinson, a cancer campaigner, died in September. Her husband Mike said his wife had found it "distressing" she could not get easy access to lapatinib.

Pamela Goldberg, chief executive of Breast Cancer Campaign, said yesterday's announcement means about 2,000 women a year in the UK may benefit.