The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today published draft guidance recommending the Intrabeam Radiotherapy System for people with early breast cancer, for controlled use with the collection of further data on its effectiveness.

According to NICE, the committee was aware that it is not certain whether this technology – a type of targeted radiotherapy – is as effective as conventional radiotherapy in preventing the recurrence of the disease.

However, the committee heard the risk of local recurrence is low in the patients who would receive Intrabeam and they heard that people may be prepared to accept a level of uncertainty in order to avoid having to have radiotherapy after their surgery.

For this reason, the committee has also recommended that patients are provided with information on the treatment options available, including their associated risks and benefits so that they can make an informed choice about their treatment.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“This is a step towards clarity on intraoperative radiotherapy. While Intrabeam can reduce the impact of a patient’s quality of life during breast cancer treatment, clinical trials are yet to clearly demonstrate its overall benefit and further investigation is required.

“If shown to be as effective as standard treatments, Intrabeam could offer certain patients an alternative option, reducing the doses they require and lessening the side-effects they experience, which would be invaluable.

“With the current uncertainty within the medical community, we look forward to fully understanding the risks and benefits of this innovative approach to radiotherapy.”

More information

For further information about NICE's recommendations, please see the NICE website