NICE: Breast cancer treatment does not provide enough benefit for patients to justify its cost
From today (22 August), NHS professionals are expected to follow new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on the use of bevacizumab (Avastin, Roche) as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer.
Newly-published NICE guidance does not recommend the treatment (when used in combination with the chemotherapy drug, capecitabine) for the first-line treatment of metastatic breast cancer in people for whom treatment with other chemotherapy options including taxanes or anthracyclines is not considered appropriate. This recommendation has remained constant throughout the process of guidance development (which includes a thorough review of all available evidence and a public consultation) with no objections to the recommendation being raised by the manufacturer or other consultees at any stage.
Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE Chief Executive, said: "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. Evidence presented to the independent Appraisal Committee did not conclusively show that bevacizumab, in combination with capecitabine, could improve overall survival or improve a patient's quality of life more than current treatment. These uncertainties combined with the high cost of bevacizumab mean the drug simply isn't cost-effective.
"I understand this news will be disappointing to people, especially those with breast cancer that has spread elsewhere in their body. However, NICE recommends a range of treatments that the NHS can use to treat metastatic disease and these are outlined in our clinical guideline on the diagnosis and treatment of advanced breast cancer."