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NICE draft guidance recommends bortezomib and thalidomide for multiple myeloma

In draft guidance published today (2 June 2010) NICE has recommended two new treatments for multiple myeloma.

Thalidomide (Thalidomide, Celgene) in combination with an alkylating agent and a corticosteroid is recommended for the first line treatment of multiple myeloma in people for whom high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplantation is considered inappropriate. Bortezomib (Velcade, Janssen-Cilag) in combination with an alkylating agent and a corticosteroid is recommended as a treatment option if the person is unable to tolerate or has contraindications for thalidomide.

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that develops from cells in the bone marrow. There is currently no cure for the disease, only treatments to stop the progress of the condition and help relieve symptoms. Almost 4,000 cases of multiple myeloma are diagnosed every year in the UK.

Dr Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE said: “The evidence clearly showed that both thalidomide and bortezomib regimens are more effective at delaying disease progression and improving patients' life expectancy than the current treatment of an alkylating agent and corticosteroid alone.

“The Appraisal Committee heard from clinical specialists that, although the choice of treatment would differ for each individual, a thalidomide regimen would be considered more appropriate in most cases. The evidence suggested that in terms of clinical effectiveness the two regimens were equivalent, but thalidomide regimens were more cost effective than the bortezomib regimen. However, for those people who are unable to take thalidomide, bortezomib was considered an appropriate and cost effective treatment option.

“We are pleased to be able to recommend these two treatments for multiple myleloma patients.”

Draft guidance has been issued for consultation.Comments received during the consultation will be considered by the Committee and following this meeting the next draft guidance will be issued. Until NICE issues final guidance, NHS bodies should make decisions locally on the funding of specific treatments.

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This page was last updated: 01 June 2010

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Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.