Oncology

FDA approves Avastin for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Avastin for the treatment of women with advanced ovarian cancer following initial surgical resection.

Ovarian cancer causes more deaths among women than any other gynecologic cancer in the United States. In 2018, more than 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the U.S. and about 14,000 will die from the disease. About 80% of ovarian cancer cases are found at an advanced stage, when the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries.

Avastin (bevacizumab), founded and developed by Roche Group’s Genentech, is a biologic antibody designed to specifically bind to a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that plays an important role throughout the lifecycle of the tumour to develop and maintain blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis. Avastin is designed to interfere with the tumour blood supply by directly binding to the VEGF protein to prevent interactions with receptors on blood vessel cells. The tumour blood supply is thought to be critical to a tumour’s ability to grow and metastasize.

“Today’s approval is an important advance for women newly diagnosed with this type of ovarian cancer,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “We’re committed to advancing medicines in areas of unmet need and this FDA approval of Avastin plus chemotherapy gives women with advanced ovarian cancer a new treatment option that has been shown to significantly delay disease progression or death.”

The approval for Avastin, in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel, followed by Avastin as a single agent, for the treatment of women with stage III or stage IV epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer following initial surgical resection, is based on data from the pivotal Phase III GOG-0218 trial.

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