(HealthDay News) – For women with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, the addition of Avastin (bevacizumab) to chemotherapy is associated with improved progression-free survival.

Eric Pujade-Lauraine, MD, PhD, from the Université de Paris Descartes, and colleagues conducted a Phase 3 randomized trial of Avastin involving 361 patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. Patients whose disease had progressed not more than six months after four or more cycles of platinum-based therapy were eligible for inclusion. Exclusion criteria included refractory ovarian cancer, history of bowel obstruction, and two or more previous anticancer regimens. Patients were randomly allocated to receive chemotherapy (pegylated liposomal doxorubicin, Hycamtin (topotecan), or weekly Taxol (paclitaxel)) alone (182 patients) or chemotherapy with Avastin (179 patients). The primary end point was progression-free survival.

After a median follow-up of 13.5 months, the researchers found that 75% of the bevacizumab group had recurrence, compared with 91% of the chemotherapy-alone group. In the bevacizumab group, the median progression-free survival was 6.7 months, compared with 3.4 months in the chemotherapy-alone group.

“These results are very significant because the addition of Avastin offers a new treatment option for the 20% of women who have primary platinum-resistant disease, as well as those whose disease later becomes platinum-resistant,” Pujade-Lauraine said in a statement. “For the first time in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, we have been able to significantly improve progression-free survival with a combination therapy.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Roche Diagnostics, which manufactures Avastin.

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