This week results from two clinical trial studies were released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, announcing that Avastin (also called bevacizumab), a chemotherapy drug used for other types of cancer, could help women by slowing down the progression of ovarian cancer.
Results are already controversial in the medical communities, but women with advanced cases of ovarian cancer can add about four months of time to the period between the cancer being considered under control to its getting worse, or progressing, according to this new report.
Putting these two studies into perspective, patients treated with Avastin in addition to the usual chemotherapy treatments had about fourteen (14) months before their advanced ovarian cancer progressed. This was in comparison to about ten (10) months for patients who were treated with chemotherapy and a placebo.
There was a third clinical trial conducted, and reported by Dr. Carol Aghajanian at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, that showed that by adding Avastin to the standard chemotherapy treatments extended the time before ovarian cancer began to progress. It is important to note, however, that women treated with Avastin did not live any longer than other women in the study.
Avastin for the treatment of ovarian cancer has been approved by The European Commission but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still evaluating the data and it is not yet approved for use in the United States.
The drug is made by Genentech, a pharmaceutical company, and is designed to inihibit the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor and help it to grow or spread. Avastin is currently approved to treat certain types of colon, lung, kidney and brain cancers despite the recent decision by the FDA to stop its use for breast cancer.
To read more about Avastin and ovarian cancer, click here.