Avastin Helps Women With Ovarian Cancer Live Longer

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Each year, almost 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, because many cases are diagnosed late, after it has spread to other areas, survival rate for ovarian cancer is lower than some other types of cancer. Avastin, a cancer drug from Roche Holding AG, has been shown to help women with ovarian cancer live longer, according to data presented this week at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) congress.

Avastin Extended Progression Free Survival in Women with Advanced Ovarian Cancer

The study presented in Milan is called the ICON-7 study. About 1,800 women with advanced ovarian cancer were involved in the international Phase III trial which found that the median progression-free survival of women who took Avastin in addition to chemotherapy was 14.1 months versus 10.3 months with chemotherapy alone.

Read: Genentech's Avastin Shows Promise as Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Avastin (bevacizumab) works by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) which is thought to have a key role in disease progression.

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The data is still too immature for a detailed analysis of overall survival, said Perren. "We need to see longer-term data. The key question is does the addition of bevacizumab to chemotherapy improve not just progression-free survival but overall survival as well.”

According to Roche, there have been no significant new drugs developed for ovarian cancer since the mid-1990’s. Avastin is already approved for the treatment of some other forms of cancer, including brain, non-small cell lung, kidney, and colon cancer and it is being studied for the treatment of breast cancer.

Read: FDA Questions Benefit of Roche's Avastin for Breast Cancer

"We are committed to developing new medicines that make a difference in the lives of people living with cancer," said Roche's Chief Medical Officer Hal Barron.
Roche plans to seek European ovarian cancer approval at the end of this year and submit a U.S. file in 2011.

Source reference:
Burger RA et al "Safety and subgroup efficacy analyses in GOD-0218, a phase III trial of bevacizumab in the primary treatment of advanced epithelial ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, or fallopian tube cancer: a Guynecologic Oncology Group study" ESMO2010; Abstract 978PD.

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