The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published draft guidance approving the use of pemetrexed as a maintenance treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer.
The drug works by extending the period of remission after the first dose of chemotherapy and increasing the likelihood that patients will be able to receive a second treatment course.
Professor Peter Littlejohns, NICE clinical and public health director, said: “In September 2009 NICE recommended pemetrexed as a first line treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer and we are pleased to be able to recommend pemetrexed as a maintenance treatment as well.
“It is a new concept in lung cancer care and pemetrexed is the first drug to be made available for this type of treatment in the UK.”
Consultants will now be given the opportunity to appeal against the advice, after which final guidance will be issued.
Around 38,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK each year. The non-small-cell variety of the disease accounts of almost 80% of cases.
Copyright Press Association 2010
National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence