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Stomach tumour treatment approved

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Sunitinib has been recommended by NICE for gastro-intestinal stromal tumours (Gists) after a pricing deal with maker Pfizer.

The company has agreed to cover the cost for the first treatment cycle, and it is on that basis that NICE recommends the drug.

NICE spokesman Professor Peter Littlejohns said: ‘This represents a positive move by the manufacturer, who, by reducing the cost the NHS will have to pay, will enable as many eligible patients as possible to access it.’

The guidance recommends sunitinib for unresectable or metastatic Gist if the patients has already tried imatinib but it has stopped working or is not suitable.

Gists are found in the digestive system, usually in the stomach, and many are benign. If they become malignant, they can often be removed surgically.

NICE guidelines previously said that if surgery is not possible, only imatinib should be offered as a first-line treatment option.

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