25 February 2011
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has not approved the new breast cancer drug Avastin for use in the UK.
According to NICE, there was insufficient evidence that the drug, also known as bevacizumab, which is used to treat secondary breast cancers, actually prolonged patients' lives.
The move has been widely condemned by cancer charities, but NICE claimed that the trials conducted to test the drug's efficacy were plagued by uncertainties.
Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive officer of NICE, said: "The evidence for the effectiveness of bevacizumab in prolonging survival was not robust and overall did not show enough of a demonstrable benefit for it to be considered a cost-effective use of NHS resources."
He added that there are already a large number of treatments in use in the UK to treat metastatic breast cancer and that the addition of Avastin would not necessarily improve outcomes.
Meanwhile, new British research has shown that the commonly used breast cancer treatment of removing cancerous lymph nodes may not actually be an effective means of treating the condition.
1 Giuliano, Armando et al. "Axillary Dissection vs No Axillary Dissection in Women With Invasive Breast Cancer and Sentinel Node Metastasis". The Journal of the American Medical Association. Wednesday, February 9th 2011.
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