Drug ‘shows positive results on ovarian cancer’
Zurich, February 25, 2010
Women with advanced ovarian cancer who are treated with Roche's Avastin and chemotherapy and then continue to take Avastin live longer without their disease worsening than if they only have chemotherapy, the Swiss drugmaker said.
Roche, the world's largest maker of cancer drugs, said the late-stage study was the first positive Phase III study of an anti-angiogenic therapy, which uses drugs to stop tumours from making new blood vessels, in advanced ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is the sixth most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the eighth leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide, Roche said, adding each year an estimated 230,000 women are diagnosed with the disease and some 140,000 die from it.
"We are greatly encouraged by these results which suggest that Avastin could offer women with advanced ovarian cancer more time without their disease worsening," said Pascal Soriot, COO of Roche's pharmaceutical division.
"Women with this disease still have a poor outlook and we are committed to working with the relevant health authorities to make Avastin available to these patients," Soriot said.
The group will present the data at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in June.
Avastin, which works by starving tumours of blood and is made by the recently acquired Genentech unit, is used to treat lung, colon and breast cancers, and had 2009 annual global sales of 6.2 billion Swiss francs ($5.74 billion). – Reuters