The UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended that rituximab should be considered as a possible first-line treatment for people with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

NICE recommends that rituximab be used only by patients who are able to take fludarabine in combination with cyclophosphamide. Rituximab is not recommended in combination with any other chemotherapy agents.

NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre director Dr Carole Longson said that after looking at all of the available evidence the independent Appraisal Committee concluded that rituximab represented an effective use of NHS resources.

“This important guidance increases the treatment options available to people with this condition, wherever they live in England and Wales,” Longson said.

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, a cancer that affects white blood cells, is the most common form of adult leukaemia.