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Published on 28 October 2009

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NICE recommends topotecan for cervical cancer

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The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has today published final guidance recommending the use of topotecan in combination with cisplatin as a treatment option for women with recurrent or stage IVB cervical cancer who have not previously received cisplatin.

Women who have previously received cisplatin and are currently being treated with topotecan in combination with cisplatin for recurrent and stage IVB cervical cancer should have the option to continue their therapy until they and their clinicians consider it appropriate to stop.

Topotecan prevents DNA replication in cancer cells by inhibiting the enzyme topoisomerase I which helps to separate and repair the DNA in cells when they divide.

Dr Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director said: “The independent Appraisal Committee considered all available evidence on the effectiveness of topotecan as a treatment for women with cervical cancer. They also heard evidence from patients who highlighted the importance of having a number of treatment options because one may be more suitable than others for the individual patient. The committee concluded that – for women with recurrent cervical cancer and those with stage IVB cervical cancer, where cancerous cells have spread to distant organs, such as the lungs, and who have not previously received cisplatin – the cost of topotecan in relation to how well it works is an effective use of NHS resources.

“Cervical cancer affects approximately 2,800 women in the UK each year. Currently a range of therapies are used to treat the cancer with no single best practice treatment. Today’s guidance means that those patients who meet the above criteria will have a further treatment option.”



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