NICE has turned down a bowel cancer drug for use on the NHS, despite pressure from campaigners for it to be given the green light.
Trials have shown Avastin (bevacizumab) can help patients with advanced bowel cancer that has spread to other organs, usually the liver and lungs.
NICE said it had looked at options for prescribing the drug, including a risk-sharing scheme from the manufacturer, Roche.
However, it concluded Avastin, which would cost almost £21,000 per patient with an estimated 6,500 people eligible per year, was too expensive to justify the extra benefit it offers.
Clinical data submitted by Roche to the watchdog indicated the treatment typically offer patients an extra six weeks of life when added to the chemotherapy drugs capecitabine and oxaliplatin.
The study showed patients lived on average 21.3 months compared with 19.9 months with chemotherapy alone.
Data also suggests the trio of drugs means 78% of patients see their liver tumours shrink to such a degree that they are eligible for potentially life-saving surgery.
The latest guidance from NICE is subject to consultation and appeal.
Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said: “We have recommended several treatments for various stages of colorectal cancer, including cetuximab for the first-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.
“We are disappointed not to be able to recommend bevacizumab as well, but we have to be confident that the benefits justify the considerable cost of this drug.”