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Randi Hernandez was science editor at Pharmaceutical Technology from September 2014 to May 2017.
Avastin plus chemotherapy for the treatment of ovarian cancer increased progression-free survival by 62% compared with chemotherapy alone.
FDA announced on Nov. 14, 2014 that Avastin (bevacizumab) was approved in combination with paclitaxel, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin, or topotecan as a treatment for recurrent cases of cancer that are resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy. The European Commission approved Avastin for the same use earlier this year, on Aug. 6, 2014.
Blockbuster Avastin is already approved and marketed for colon, lung, kidney, and cervical cancers, as well as glioblastomas, a type of brain tumor. Avastin is also often used off-label as a treatment for the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, a use that is discouraged by the makers of the drug.
“Avastin plus chemotherapy is the first new treatment option for women with this difficult-to-treat type of ovarian cancer in more than 15 years,” said Sandra Horning, MD, chief medical officer and head of global product development at Roche, in a press release. “Risk of the disease worsening was reduced by 62% for women who received Avastin plus chemotherapy in the study, and a notable treatment effect was observed with paclitaxel, which may be important when choosing treatment.”