The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has reissued a Final Appraisal Determination recommending the use of Pfizer’s Sutent to treat advanced stomach cancers on the National Health Service.

The cost watchdog for England and Wales originally published its final recommendations back in May, but these were returned to its Appraisal Committee for further review on receipt of feedback regarding certain restrictions on patients’ performance status that commentators felt had been inadequately addressed.

Essentially, however, the Institute’s FAD remains unchanged in that Sutent is still recommended as a treatment for patients with unresectable/metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) if therapy with Novartis’ Glivec/Gleevec (imatinib) has failed and under the proviso that Pfizer picks up the tab for the first cycle of treatment.

NICE’s decision was based on findings of a Phase III clinical trial showing that Sutent increased time to tumour progression by almost five months compared to placebo, and after an analysis deemed that using the drug in patients who have become resistant to or cannot tolerate the gold standard of care is a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

The closing date for further comment regarding the FAD is August 26.