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NICE rejects kidney cancer drugs


New guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) have rejected four drugs for use in treating patients with advanced kidney cancer.

NICE has published draft guidance rejecting the drugs Sutent (sunitinib), Avastin (bevacizumab), Nexavar (sorafenib) and Torisel (temsirolimus), leaving patients just one treatment option – interferon.

Charities have expressed outrage at the decision, while Professor John Wagstaff, from the South Wales Cancer Institute, said there was “no point” in him accepting referrals for people with advanced kidney cancer as around 75% of them “do not gain any real benefit” from interferon.

The draft guidance says the four drugs are not cost effective for patients with advanced and/or metastatic kidney cancer. They do not cure the cancer but extend a person’s life by a matter of months.

NICE added that patients already on the therapies should continue until they and their doctors consider it appropriate to stop.

“NHS resources are not limitless and NICE has to decide what treatments represent best value to the patient as well as the NHS,” said the body’s clinical and public health director, Professor Peter Littlejohns.

He added that two of the drugs’ manufacturers had developed proposals which could reduce costs and said NICE would be considering these proposals once they had been reviewed by the Department of Health.

Copyright PA Business 2008


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