Longer Use of Avastin Slows Ovarian Cancer

Continued use of the targeted drug Avastin (bevacizumab), after initial treatment with the drug and chemotherapy, helped slow progression of advanced ovarian cancer, according to a phase 3 study.

Continued use of the targeted drug Avastin (bevacizumab), after initial treatment with the drug and chemotherapy, helped slow progression of advanced ovarian cancer, according to a phase 3 study.

Nearly 1,900 newly diagnosed patients with advanced epithelial ovarian, primary peritoneal, or fallopian tube cancer were randomly assigned to receive chemotherapy alone (paclitaxel plus carboplatin), chemotherapy plus Avastin, or chemotherapy plus Avastin followed by maintenance therapy with Avastin for up to an additional 10 months.

Women in the maintenance group showed no worsening of their disease for about four months longer than those who received chemotherapy alone (14.1 months versus 10.3 months). Median progression-free survival reached 11.2 months for patients receiving chemotherapy plus Avastin.

Researchers said the study represents the first time that an angiogenesis inhibitor—a drug that blocks the development of blood vessels that promote tumor growth—has been found to delay disease progression in this patient population. Whether long-term use of Avastin helps women live longer is still to be determined.

Side effects of Avastin, a drug currently approved for colorectal, breast, brain, lung, and kidney cancers, include high blood pressure and low white blood cell counts.