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NICE issues guidance on imatinib for the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumours

Published: 26 November 2014

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance to the health service on imatinib for the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumours, informed by a report produced by SHTAC.

NICE’s guidance is that imatinib is recommended as an option as adjuvant treatment for up to 3 years for adults who are at high risk of relapse after surgery for KIT (CD117)-positive gastrointestinal stromal tumours, as defined by the Miettinen 2006 criteria (based on tumour size, location and mitotic rate).

Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) are rare connective tissue tumours which can occur along the length of the gastrointestinal tract. The majority of tumours arise in the stomach or the small intestine. The annual incidence of GIST is estimated to be approximately 900 new diagnoses per year in the UK.

The main treatment for GIST is surgical excision. However, recurrence occurs in 40–50% of patients who have had complete resection. To reduce the risk of recurrence drug therapy may be given (adjuvantly) with surgery. Imatinib (Glivec, Novartis Pharmaceuticals) is a selective kinase inhibitor authorised for the adjuvant treatment of adult patients who are at significant risk of relapse following resection of KIT (CD117)-positive GISTs.

NICE’s guidance is informed by an evidence review group report prepared by SHTAC, which critically appraised the drug company’s submission to NICE’s Single Technology Appraisal process.

For more information on SHTAC's research into cancer please visit our Research page.

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