Posted on March 8th, 2009 by
Addition of Avastin® Doesn’t Improve Overall Survival in Metastatic Breast Cancer
According to the results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, treatment of metastatic breast cancer with a combination of Avastin® (bevacizumab) and paclitaxel (Taxol®) delays the time to cancer progression, but does not improve overall survival, compared with paclitaxel alone.
Metastatic breast cancer refers to cancer that has spread to distant sites in the body. Chemotherapy is a cornerstone of therapy for metastatic breast cancer; however, novel therapeutic approaches are now providing more targeted methods of treatment.
Avastin is a targeted therapy that blocks a protein known as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. Avastin is already approved for the treatment of some colorectal and lung cancers.
To evaluate the combination of Avastin and the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel in the initial treatment of metastatic breast cancer, researchers conducted a Phase III clinical trial. The trial enrolled 722 patients. A majority of the study participants had HER2-negative breast cancer. Half the patients were treated with Avastin and paclitaxel, and half were treated with paclitaxel alone.
This study suggests that the addition of Avastin to paclitaxel improves progression-free survival but not overall survival among women with metastatic breast cancer.
Based on the results of this study, an FDA advisory committee recommended that Avastin not be approved for the initial treatment of metastatic breast cancer. The FDA is not obligated to follow advisory committee recommendations, but often does. The FDA is expected to makes its decision in February 2008.
Reference: Miller K, Wang M, Gralow J et al. Paclitaxel plus bevacizumab versus paclitaxel alone for metastatic breast cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. 2007;357:2666-76.
Related News: FDA Advisory Committee Does Not Recommend Approval for Avastin® for Breast Cancer (12/7/2007)
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