The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today published final draft guidance recommending the Intrabeam Radiotherapy System for people with early breast cancer for controlled use.

Friday 1 September 2017      Campaigns and policy

Intrabeam is a type of targeted radiotherapy, which is delivered in one 30 minute dose given at the same time as surgery to remove the tumour, eliminating the need for repeated hospital visits for most patients.

The rate of local recurrence so far in the clinical trial is low, yet it is still uncertain whether this technology is as effective as conventional radiotherapy in preventing the recurrence of the disease. The Committee heard that some patients may be willing to accept a level of uncertainty in order to have the benefits of Intrabeam.

Today’s decision recommends Intrabeam using machines that are already available, with patients selected by a multi-disciplinary team and provided with information about the uncertainties of the procedure and the risks and benefits of all treatment options, alongside the collection of further data on its effectiveness.

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

“Today’s decision creates the opportunity for further evidence to be collected about the clinical effectiveness of Intrabeam so that the current uncertainty around its benefit, as compared with conventional radiotherapy, can be settled.

“Existing Intrabeam machines will now be used in a carefully controlled way, with potential patients being selected by a multi-disciplinary team and provided with information on the risks and benefits of all treatment options.

“Crucially, Intrabeam can improve quality of life for women undergoing early breast cancer treatment, and also presents an alternative option when conventional radiotherapy is not suitable.

“Today’s guidance will enable a decision on whether Intrabeam should be made more widely available on the NHS in future. We look forward to fully understanding the risks and benefits of this innovative approach to radiotherapy.”