Intended for healthcare professionals


Start of cheaper technique for breast cancer is delayed in UK despite adoption elsewhere

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 26 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2874
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

A new technique that substantially reduces the burden of radiotherapy in women with early breast cancer and could save the NHS millions of pounds a year has been approved in Australia by the Medical Services Advisory Committee—the Australian equivalent of the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)—ahead of its UK counterpart. Not only has it been recommended for selected patients but it is also an item in the committee’s 2015-16 budget.

In July 2014 NICE published draft guidance recommending the use of intrabeam radiotherapy, which replaces a course of 15 postoperative radiotherapy sessions with a single dose, given at the time of surgery. A randomised controlled trial led by University College London (UCL), the TARGIT-A trial, was published in 2010,1 and a five year follow-up in 2014 showed that the outcomes were not inferior to the established approach.2

At that time Carole Longson, director of health technology …

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