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The cancer drug cetuximab is to be made available on the NHS across the North East as a third-line treatment for patients with advanced colorectal tumours.
The decision by North of England Cancer Drug Approvals Group (NECDAG) has been made ahead of guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
NICE recently approved cetuximab as a firstline treatment as part of pre-surgery for patients in which the cancer has spread to the liver. This means their first treatment after diagnosis where there is the possibility of having surgery to remove cancer that has spread to the liver.
Says Steve Williamson, a consultant pharmacist with the North of England Cancer Network: “There has been renewed interest in cetuximab since a test was developed last year to identify patients most likely to benefit from the drug.
“This means that we can target the use of this drug to ensure that the patients who receive it are those most likely to benefit from it.”
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North of England Cancer Drug Approvals Group