Roche suffered another setback as UK’s healthcare cost agency NICE  refused to recommend Roche’s Avastin (bevacizumab) as a treatment for advanced breast cancer citing the blockbuster drug’s limited benefit and high cost.

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE Chief Executive, said, “Unfortunately, we did not receive any evidence from the manufacturer to show that bevacizumab (Avastin) can significantly lengthen a patient’s life or, importantly, offer a better quality of life than existing treatments,”  he added, “although the data seemed to show that the drug may slow the growth and spread of the cancer, the size of this effect varied between studies.”

The Swiss pharma giant Roche expressed its disappointment at the rejection quoting new evidence from a recent meta-analysis showed some women with difficult-to-treat breast cancers could derive substantial benefit from adding Avastin to their chemotherapy.

The treatment with Avastin and chemotherapy could cost more than 33,000 pounds,  according to calculations by Roche.

Previously, the UK organisation had refused to recommend the drug in other indications in lung, brain, kidney, breast and rectal cancers  for use on the NHS. NICE’s final draft guidance for Avastin is still subject to an appeal process, and the  final guidance is expected early next year.

Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency are currently reconsidering Avastin’s licence as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer.

An FDA advisory panel recommended removing the drug’s current approval for breast cancer in July. There is no set timeline for an FDA ruling on whether to revoke the breast cancer approval, although the U.S. agency is due to decide on Avastin’s use with other chemotherapies by Dec. 17.