Drug cocktail boosts ovarian cancer survival time

June 2, 2012

A drug cocktail that combines chemotherapy with Avastin was shown to double the amount of time patients lived without progression of ovarian cancer, according to research released Saturday.

Also known as bevacizumab and marketed as Avastin by the Swiss Roche, the drug could help women who have a resistant form of the cancer, researchers said.

"For the first time in platinum resistant ovarian cancer, we have been able to significantly improve progression free survival with a combination therapy," said lead study author Eric Pujade-Lauraine, a professor at Universite de Paris Descartes.

"These results are very significant because the addition of bevacizumab offers a new treatment option for the 20 percent of women who have primary platinum resistant disease, as well as those whose disease later becomes platinum-resistant."

The international, randomized phase III clinical trial included 361 patients with ovarian cancer. Some received bevacizumab in addition to standard chemotherapies; others received chemo treatments alone.

The median time of progression free survival was 6.7 months in the combination therapy group, compared to 3.4 months in chemotherapy alone group.

Previous research has shown that can be effective as a first and second line treatment against ovarian cancer, and future studies may shed more light on when how long to administer it.

The latest research was presented at the annual conference of the in Chicago.

Some 230,000 women are diagnosed each year worldwide with . About 70 percent of patients die within five years of diagnosis.

Explore further: Experimental drug inhibits cell signaling pathway and slows ovarian cancer growth

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