Breast cancer drug Avastin 'not effective' says Nice

 

Neil Lancefield
Wednesday 18 April 2012 10:28
Comments

A drug will not be available to treat breast cancer on the NHS after it was unclear whether it improved survival rates, a watchdog said today.

In draft guidance, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) said it did not recommend Avastin (bevacizumab) for the treatment of breast cancer when used in combination with capecitabine (a type of chemotherapy).

Nice said that making Avastin available on the NHS was not a good use of resources because of its high cost, and the lack of evidence to show patients would have a better quality of life than if they were treated with chemotherapy alone.

Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of Nice, said: "We understand the need for effective treatments that can help patients live for as long as possible with a good quality of life. However, the evidence submitted to our independent appraisal committee did not conclusively show that bevacizumab could do either.

"The cost-effectiveness of the treatment was also an issue; we can't recommend a drug that has not been shown to work as well as, or better than, current treatments and costs much more.

"We want to ensure people have access to the best treatments the NHS can afford; bevacizumab has so far not been proven to be clinically or cost-effective."

A consultation has been opened for the drug's manufacturer, healthcare professionals and members of the public to comment on the guidance from Nice.

The charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer said the negative impact of using Avastin to treat cancer that has spread from where it started was unknown.

Dr Rachel Greig, senior policy officer at the organisation, said: "We welcome new treatments for women with metastatic breast cancer as we know their options are limited and prolonging life is incredibly important to them and their families.

"However, this treatment combination can cause serious side effects and there is no evidence to show how this may affect a patient's quality of life."

PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in