Breast Cancer :: Avastin in Europe for women with metastatic breast cancer

Roche announced that their innovative cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab) has been approved in Europe for the treatment of women with metastatic breast cancer.

The European Commission has approved Avastin for the first line treatment of women with metastatic breast cancer in combination with a standard chemotherapy paclitaxel (originally branded Taxol).

The approval is based on pivotal Phase III trial data (E2100) which show that women with metastatic breast cancer have the chance to live twice as long without their cancer progressing if treated with Avastin plus paclitaxel compared to paclitaxel alone.

“Today?s approval represents a significant advancement in breast cancer therapy,”said William M. Burns, CEO Division Roche Pharmaceuticals. “We are proud to launch this significant new treatment option. We will now work to ensure that Avastin is being made widely available to European physicians and patients with metastatic breast cancer as quickly as possible.”

David Cameron, medical oncologist, Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust and Clinical Lead for the South East Scotland Cancer Research Network, welcomed the news: “It is devastating for a woman to be diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Despite all the improvements in treatment that have already been made, the remarkable effect of Avastin in prolonging the time to progression of metastatic breast cancer will be welcomed by patients – this time gained is very precious.”

Each year more than one million new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed worldwide, resulting in over 400,000 deaths per year. Metastatic breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer death worldwide in women under the age of 551.

Avastin is the first and only anti-angiogenic agent which has been shown to consistently deliver improved overall and/or progression-free survival benefit for colorectal, lung, breast and renal cell cancer patients.

Additional phase III trials are ongoing to explore Avastin in the first line treatment of metastatic breast cancer in combination with docetaxel (AVADO) and other commonly used chemotherapies including Xeloda (RIBBON-1). Recently, a phase III 1st line trial (AVEREL) in HER2-positive breast cancer evaluating Avastin in combination with docetaxel plus Herceptin was initiated.

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