Ovarian cancer study proves drug delays disease progression

Treating ovarian cancer with the drug bevacizumab ("Avastin") delays the disease and may also improve survival, show the results of an international clinical trial co-led by Drs. Amit Oza of the Princess Margaret Cancer Program, University Health Network and Timothy Perren, St James's Institute of Oncology, Leeds, UK.

The findings, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, report that the drug halted the cancer's return for two months overall. However, for women with the highest risk disease, the delay was five to six months and in this group, the findings also indicate a strong trend to improved overall survival, which is being analysed until 2013.

"This is the first new drug in ovarian cancer in 15 years to improve outcome and I believe it should be considered as a potential new standard of care," says Dr. Oza, a medical oncologist who leads the Cancer Clinical Research Unit at Princess Margaret Hospital. He is also co-director of the hospital's Bras Family Drug Development Program and Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

The seven-year study began in 2004 and enrolled 1,528 women with ovarian cancer at 263 centres, including 20 in Canada. Avastin was added to chemotherapy treatment and given intravenously every three weeks for 12 months.

The drug blocks growth factors that promote new blood vessels formation in tumours, thereby "starving" the cancer. It is not a cure, explains Dr. Oza, but has a proven track record in delaying disease progression in other types of cancer including colorectal, lung, breast, kidney and brain.

"We now know that using Avastin in ovarian cancer for even this short time improves outcomes," says Dr. Oza. "The next step is to determine if giving it for a longer period would be of even greater benefit."

Similar findings from a U.S. study are also reported in this issue of the journal. Dr. Oza says the major difference between the two studies is that the women in the American study were given twice as much Avastin. "So the question now is would half the dose for double the duration improve outcomes even more? This is an area to investigate further."

The research was funded and led by the Medical Research Council UK, with women from 11 countries participating in the study. The study was conducted in Canada by the NCIC Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG) at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario in collaboration with the Medical Research Council UK. Dr. Oza's research is also supported by The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.

Most Popular Now

Amgen and Allergan's MVASI™ (bevacizumab-awwb) and…

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Allergan plc (NYSE:AGN) announced that MVASI™ (bevacizumab-awwb), a biosimilar to Avastin® (bevacizumab), and KANJINTITM (trastuzumab-anns), a bio...

Compound found in red wine opens door for new trea…

Like to unwind with a glass of red wine after a stressful day? Don't give alcohol all the credit. New research has revealed that the plant compound resveratrol, which is ...

HIV vaccine nears clinical trial following new fin…

A promising vaccine that clears an HIV-like virus from monkeys is closer to human testing after a new, weakened version of the vaccine has been shown to provide similar p...

Mylan and Upjohn, a division of Pfizer, to combine…

HERTFORDSHIRE, England & PITTSBURGH & Mylan N.V. (Nasdaq: MYL) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) today announced a definitive agreement to combine Mylan with Upjohn, Pfizer's o...

Leading oncologists and nutritionists pinpoint are…

An international collaborative led by Ludwig Cancer Research and Cancer Research UK has identified key areas that are central to uncovering the complex relationship betwe...

Closing the door: breaking new ground related to a…

In order to sustain fast growth, cancer cells need to take up nutrients at a faster rate than healthy cells. The human glutamine transporter ASCT2 allows the amino acid g...

FDA approves first generics of Lyrica

On July 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved multiple applications for first generics of Lyrica (pregabalin) for the management of neuropathic pain associat...

Roche and Spark Therapeutics, Inc. announce extens…

Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) and Spark Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCE) ("Spark") announced that Roche has extended the offering period of its previously announced...

FDA approves first treatment for severe hypoglycem…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Baqsimi nasal powder, the first glucagon therapy approved for the emergency treatment of severe hypoglycemia that c...

Rye is healthy, thanks to an interplay of microbes

Eating rye comes with a variety of health benefits. A new study from the University of Eastern Finland now shows that both lactic acid bacteria and gut bacteria contribut...

GSK completes transaction with Pfizer to form new …

The Joint Venture brings together two highly complementary portfolios of trusted consumer health brands, including GSK's Sensodyne, Voltaren and Panadol and Pfizer's Advi...

Eating more plant-based foods may be linked to bet…

Eating mostly plant-based foods and fewer animal-based foods may be linked to better heart health and a lower risk of dying from a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovas...