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NICE approves rituximab cancer treatment

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Patients with follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are set to benefit from a treatment recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

According to NICE, rituximab could prove to be a “valuable” treatment option for hundreds of patients by delaying the growth and spread of follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Its draft guidance states that the drug can be used as a first-line maintenance treatment for people with follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who have responded to first-line induction therapy with rituximab in combination with chemotherapy.
NICE said that analysis showed that treating patients with rituximab maintenance after induction therapy can prevent the spread and growth of the cancer by between three and four years.
At present, doctors wait for the cancer to grow again following successful induction therapy, before giving patients further treatment.
The manufacturer’s economic modelling also convinced the committee that first-line rituximab maintenance treatment could be a cost-effective use of NHS resources, compared with current clinical practice.
Professor Peter Littlejohns, clinical and public health director at NICE, said: “Using rituximab as a maintenance treatment after initial chemotherapy for follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma could be a valuable treatment option for hundreds of patients because no such maintenance treatment has so far been available at this stage of the disease.”
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