Drug combination benefits women with recurrent ovarian cancer

June 30, 2011

Combining the antiangiogenic drug bevacizumab (Avastin) with chemotherapy significantly improves progression-free survival in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer, research from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center shows.

Combining the antiangiogenic drug bevacizumab (Avastin) with chemotherapy significantly improves progression-free survival in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer, research from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center shows.

Patients in the bevacizumab group had a 52% improvement in progression-free survival, and 79% showed a significant decrease in tumor size compared with 57% of women in the placebo group. Tumor shrinkage also lasted longer in the bevacizumab group. The study was unblinded in February 2011 after demonstrating a positive treatment effect.

“This study is extremely important because it demonstrates a clear, clinical, meaningful response from bevacizumab in these cancers,” says lead author Carol Aghajanian, MD. “This is the first phase III trial to show a strong benefit for these patients using an antiangiogenic such as bevacizumab in combination with chemotherapy for recurrent disease.”

“Ovarian cancer tends to present at late stage, and about 80% of women recur after initially being treated with surgery and chemotherapy, so our ability to offer women a new treatment option is very important,” says Dr. Aghajanian, who presented the study results June 4 at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The study was funded by Genentech, manufacturer of Avastin.