Avastin Falls Short In Treatment Of Ovarian Cancer | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Avastin Falls Short In Treatment Of Ovarian Cancer

Cancer-fighter Avastin just came up short as a treatment for ovarian tumors.

Two studies found that the drug, which blocks the formation of new blood vessels, didn't extend the lives of patients with ovarian cancer.

Avastin did slow the progression of the cancers a little bit. But the patients getting Avastin as part of treatment with several medicines had more side effects, including blood clots and high blood pressure, than the people who didn't get it.

Sound familiar? The Food and Drug Administration recently withdrew the approval for Avastin as a treatment for breast cancer concluding, in the words of Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, that "there is no benefit to breast cancer patients that would justify its risks."

As it happens, Roche's Genentech unit, maker of the Avastin, just got approval from European regulators for use of the drug in treating advanced ovarian cancer.

But after talking things over with the Food and Drug Administration Genentech isn't rushing to do the same in the U.S., the Associated Press reports. "We do not believe the data will support approval," a Genentech spokeswoman told the AP. Still, the company hasn't made a final decision.

Despite these setbacks, Avastin remains a stalwart in the treatment of colorectal and lung cancer. The drug, which can cost up $100,000 for a year of treatment, is also approved in the U.S. for brain and kidney cancers.

The studies, published in the latest New England Journal of Medicine, can be found here and here.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

The World Music Education of Philip Glass

In his new memoir, Music Without Words, the composer explains how a chance meeting with Ravi Shankar sparked a fascination with the cultures of the world and their music.
NPR

PepsiCo Swaps Diet Drink's Aspartame For Other Artificial Sweeteners

The company says Diet Pepsi consumers are concerned about aspartame. But the Food and Drug Administration has long affirmed that the sweetener is safe in amounts commonly used by beverage companies.
NPR

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy On Gun Control, Vaccines And Science

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was officially sworn in this week. His confirmation was held up for more than a year because of comments he made about gun violence. Murthy talks with NPR's Scott Simon.
NPR

As Health Apps Hop On The Apple Watch, Privacy Will Be Key

The notion of receiving nutrition advice from artificial intelligence on your wrist may seem like science fiction. But health developers are betting this kind of behavior will become the norm.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.