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Roche has informed that the European Commission has approved Avastin ( Bevacizumab ) in combination with standard chemotherapy ( Carboplatin and Paclitaxel ) as a front-line treatment for women with advanced ovarian cancer.

Avastin has demonstrated in two phase III studies ( GOG0218 and ICON7 ) that women with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer who received Avastin plus chemotherapy and then continued on Avastin alone lived significantly longer without their disease getting worse ( progression-free survival ) compared to those who received chemotherapy only.

Ovarian cancer is associated with high concentrations of vascular endothelial growth factor ( VEGF ), a protein associated with tumour growth and spread. Bevacizumab precisely inhibits VEGF, high levels of which are associated with ascites development, disease worsening, and a poorer prognosis in ovarian cancer patients.

This approval will enable the use of Avastin in combination with Carboplatin and Paclitaxel for the front-line treatment of advanced ( FIGO stages IIIB, IIIC and IV ) epithelial ovarian, primary peritoneal or fallopian tube cancer for women in Europe.
Avastin is administered in addition to chemotherapy for up to 6 cycles of treatment followed by continued use of Avastin as single agent until disease progression or for a maximum of 15 months or until unacceptable toxicity, whichever occurs earlier.
The recommended dose of Avastin is 15mg/kg of bodyweight given once every 3 weeks as an intravenous infusion.

Ovarian cancer is the eighth most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the seventh leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide. Annually, over 220,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer around the world and approximately 140,000 will die from the disease.
Surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, followed by chemotherapy, is a mainstay of treatment but unfortunately, the majority of patients are diagnosed with late stage disease and they require further treatment.

Source: Roche, 2011

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