NICE does not recommend fulvestrant instead of aromatase inhibitor drugs for postmenopausal women with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer when the cancer:

  • depends on oestrogen for growth and
  • has returned or worsened after anti-oestrogen drugs.

Aromatase inhibitors and anti-oestrogens are types of drug used to treat breast cancer.

Why has NICE said this?

NICE looks at how well treatments work, and also at how well they work in relation to how much they cost the NHS. It was not clear from the evidence whether fulvestrant works as well as other treatments available on the NHS. It was also uncertain whether fulvestrant provides enough benefit to patients to justify its high cost, so NICE did not recommend it.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guidance represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, health professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients. The application of the recommendations in this guidance is at the discretion of health professionals and their individual patients and do not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to provide the funding required to enable the guidance to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients wish to use it, in accordance with the NHS Constitution. They should do so in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities.

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