Guidance on the use of gemcitabine for the treatment of pancreatic cancer

NICE technology appraisals [TA25] Published date:

NICE has recommended that:

  • People with advanced or metastatic (when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body) pancreatic cancer may be treated with gemcitabine as a first line treatment if they have a Karnofsky performance score of 50 or more.
  • Karnofsky is a measure given by a health professional to a person's ability to perform certain ordinary tasks: 100 = normal, no complaints, 70 = unable to carry on normal activity, 50 = requires considerable assistance, 40 = disabled, 30 =hospitalisation recommended.
  • Gemcitabine should not be used for people with pancreatic cancer who are suitable for surgery that may cure their cancer, or those who have a Karnofsky performance score of less than 50.
  • Gemcitabine should not be used as a second line treatment for people with pancreatic cancer, because there is insufficient evidence to support this practice.

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