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Three new kidney cancer treatments still not available on NHS

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The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has rejected three new kidney cancer treatments after reviewing the evidence and deciding they are not cost-effective.

While Nice has changed its mind about one drug, Sutent (sunitinib), it is still not recommending Avastin (bevacizumab), Nexavar (sorafenib) and Torisel (temsirolimus) for use on the NHS.

This means that patients with advanced kidney cancer who have failed to respond to other drugs will not be able to try these new therapies unless they seek private treatment.

It will not be known until March whether Nice will change its guidance on the new cancer treatments.

Professor Peter Johnson, chief clinician at Cancer Research UK, said that while the approval of Sutent is "very welcome", the charity hopes the other drugs will be approved in the near future.

"We are disappointed that kidney cancer patients for whom sunitinib is not suitable still have to wait to hear whether Nice's decision not to recommend bevacizumab, sorafenib and temsirolimus will be reversed after further consideration," he said.

Rachel Rowson, policy manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, added: "Macmillan will continue to campaign to ensure the other three drugs for kidney cancer are also approved for use on the NHS."

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Cancer treatment news : 06/02/2009