Cancer drug could combat ovarian tumours

October 12th, 2010 - 3:59 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 12 (IANS) A drug administered to patients with bowel, breast and lung cancer can also be used to help women fight ovarian tumours, results from a clinical trial in UK show.

Avastin (bevacizumab) can be used alongside chemotherapy to slow down the development of ovarian cancer, which kills more than 4,000 women in UK alone every year.

The disease is generally diagnosed in its later stages, which minimizes the chances of survival for the patients. Fewer than 40 percent of the women affected by the disease live for a further five years after the diagnosis. Avastin is the first promising treatment in over a decade, reports the Telegraph.

According to new data, adding Avastin to chemotherapy can enable women to live for a further 18.3 months without worsening their condition, compared to 16 months for those given chemotherapy alone.

The phase III trial, led by a team from UK involving 1,528 patients, follows the success of a US trial on Avastin, which was reported earlier this year.

The results found that women who took Avastin alongside chemotherapy witnessed an extra four to six months period where the cancer did not advance.

The latest trial involved a lower dose and a shorter course of treatment and included women with high-risk early stage as well as advanced ovarian cancer.

Manufacturer Roche will submit a licence application to the European Medicines Agency later this year with the hope of getting Avastin approved for treating ovarian cancer.

“These are exciting results which show the improved efficacy of bevacizumab when added to standard chemotherapy in treating ovarian cancer,” said Tim Perren, from Leeds Teaching Hospitals National Health Service Trust.

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