NICE recommends Intrabeam radiotherapy for breast cancer patients

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published guidance recommending the “controlled use of targeted breast cancer radiotherapy treatment alongside further research”.

NICE said that it has recommended the Intrabeam Radiotherapy System for people with early breast cancer in specific circumstances, along with additional data collection.

The recommendation for further data to be collected is because it is not yet certain whether Intrabeam is as effective as conventional radiotherapy in stopping the cancer coming back.

Regular radiotherapy typically requires numerous doses over a three-week period and is performed weeks after surgery when the wounds have healed.
Intrabeam is a type of targeted radiotherapy and only requires one 30-minute dose given at the same time as surgery to remove the tumour, so there is no need for repeated hospital visits for most patients.

NICE explained that the committee heard from the patient expert that this would be considered a significant advantage by some patients and might outweigh the fact that far less is known about the long-term outcomes of Intrabeam treatment compared with conventional radiotherapy.

However, patients who are found to have a higher risk of recurrence might still need to have conventional radiotherapy after they have had Intrabeam.

Professor Carole Longson MBE, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE, said: “This is a promising new way of providing radiotherapy but the evidence needs to develop and the committee therefore recommended that its use is carefully controlled and accompanied by gathering additional information on its clinical effectiveness.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at charity Breast Cancer Now, welcomed the news, calling it a “step towards clarity on intraoperative radiotherapy,” but acknowledged that its overall benefit was uncertain.

She went on to say that if it is shown to be as effective as standard treatments, Intrabeam could offer alternative options to certain patients, reducing the doses they require as well as the side-effects they experience.ADNFCR-2094-ID-801832309-ADNFCR