§ Yvette Cooper
Irinotecan is a promising new agent for the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer which is being considered for possible referral to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). Two large randomised trials recently reported in the Lancet have indicated that irinotecan can give a small but significant benefit when used as a second line treatment. The Medical Research Council, which receives its funding from the Department of Trade and Industry, has recently given the go ahead for a major randomised trial in advanced colorectal cancer which aims to clarify the advantages and disadvantages of irinotecan and oxaliplatin, another new agent. The trial will consider not only response and survival but also quality of life and cost-effectiveness. The first patients should be randomised into the trial before the end of the year.
Further information on projects and trials relating to irinocetan can be found on the National Research Register. This is available in the Library and most medical libraries on CD Rom and on the Internet: http://www.doh.gov.uk/nrr.htm.53W
NICE published its first year work programme on 4 November and includes the development of wider guidelines on particular areas of treatment and appraisals of particular treatments and technologies.