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NICE recommends AZ's Iressa for NSCLC

NICE has recommended AstraZeneca's Iressa as a first line treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended AstraZeneca (AZ)'s Iressa (gefitinib) as a first line treatment for people with locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer if they test positive for the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase (EGFR-TK) mutation.

Iressa is a targeted oral medicine with fewer side effects than doublet (carboplatin/paclitaxel) chemotherapy. The therapy is already available through the national healthcare systems in Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden and Spain.

Dr Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre director at NICE said: "Gefitinib offers an advantage because it is taken in tablet form, can be taken at home, and would allow patients to carry on with normal daily activities."

Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer, and accounts for around 80 per cent of all cases. In the UK, around 38,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year.

Professor Nick Thatcher, professor in medical oncology at The Christie in Manchester said: "As a clinician, I welcome NICE's recommendation of this targeted cancer treatment, as it offers significant benefits over older chemotherapy for particular patients who we know have this genetic mutation."

Through a patient access scheme, AstraZeneca will provide Iressa at no cost for patients who are treated for up to two months. All other patients' will have access to the drug at a single fixed cost to the NHS irrespective of the duration of treatment.

NICE's draft guidance is now with consultees who have the opportunity to appeal against the proposed recommendations before final guidance is published later this year.

27th May 2010

From: Healthcare

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