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

Out Of Ukraine, This 'Suitcase' Packs An Immigrant's Story With Humor

Ari Shapiro talks with first-time novelist Yelena Akhtiorskaya about her book, Panic in a Suitcase.
NPR

McDonald's Responsible For Treatment Of Workers, Agency Says

The National Labor Relations Board has found that McDonald's shares responsibility for working conditions at its franchised restaurants. The company will fight the ruling.
WAMU 88.5

Activists Protest Federal Minimum Wage, Saying Increase Doesn't Cut It

Protestors gathered outside Union Station to protest what they consider a paltry federal minimum-wage hike.
NPR

OkCupid Sometimes Messes A Bit With Love, In The Name Of Science

OkCupid, the online dating site, disclosed Monday that they sometimes manipulate their users' profiles for experiments.

Leave a Comment

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