National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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NICE issues final guidance on the use of rituximab for first line chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has today (22 July) published guidance on the use of rituximab for the first line treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. The guidance recommends that rituximab should be considered asa possible first treatment for people with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia who are able to take fludarabine in combination with cyclophosphamide.

Rituximab should only be used in combination with fludarabine and cyclophosphamide. Rituximab is not recommended in combination with any other chemotherapy agents as a first treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is the most common form of adult leukaemia and is a cancer of the white blood cells (lymphocytes). The cancerous lymphocytes multiply in an uncontrolled way and stop normal white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets (blood fragments that have a role in the clotting of blood) from working properly.

Dr Carole Longson, NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director said: “After looking at all of the available evidence the independent Appraisal Committee concluded that rituximab, when used as a first line treatment for people with with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia who are able to take fludarabine in combination with cyclophosphamide, represented an  effective use of NHS resources. This important guidance increases the treatment options available to people with this condition, wherever they live in England and Wales.”

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