Avastin® plus Chemotherapy Shows Promise for Treatment of Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer

The combination of Avastin® (bevacizumab), Gemzar® (gemcitabine), and Platinol® (cisplatin) prolonged progression-free survival when compared with chemotherapy alone among patients with non-small cell lung cancer. These results were recently reported by the pharmaceutical company Genentech.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and Europe. The most common type of lung cancer, NSCLC, arises from the tissues of the lung. Current treatments are aimed to destroy tumor cells or prevent further tumor growth. Approaches to treatment include surgery, chemotherapy, biological therapies (such as monoclonal antibodies), and radiation.

Chemotherapy with platinum-based drugs, such as Platinol or Paraplatin® (carboplatin), in combination with other types of chemotherapy is frequently used to treat NSCLC. Avastin is a different type of chemotherapy, known as a monoclonal antibody, which specifically targets the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor. The VEGF is responsible for establishing blood vessels that support the cancerous tissues. Drugs that interfere with VEGF can slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. In addition, drugs that interfere with VEGF may improve the delivery of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to cancer cells by normalizing blood supply. Avastin continues to be evaluated in clinical trials with different combinations of agents for the treatment of various cancers.

In the current international study, researchers evaluated the chemotherapy combination of Avastin, Gemzar, and Platinol. Patients were assigned to receive both Platinol and Gemzar along with Avastin, at doses of either 15mg/kg or 7.5mg /kg, or to receive a placebo.

  • Patients treated with either dose of Avastin, Gemzar, and Platinol had a significant improvement in progression-free survival when compared with patients who were treated with chemotherapy alone.
  • Additionally, the average survival of patients in all arms of the study exceeded one year, which was an improvement from previously reported survival rates.
  • Neither dose of Avastin, Gemzar, and Platinol improved overall survival compared with chemotherapy alone.

Patients with NSCLC may wish to discuss with their physician treatment with the combination of Avastin®, Gemzar®, and Platinol, as well as other promising therapeutic approaches.

Reference: Genentech provides update on “AVAiL” Phase III study of Avastin plus chemotherapy in first-line, advanced, non–squamous, non–small cell lung cancer [press release]. Genentech Web site. Available at:https://www.gene.com/gene/news/press-releases/display.do?method=detail&id=11207. Accessed April 24, 2008.

Related News:

Addition of Avastin® to Gemzar®/Platinol® Combination Improves Progression-free Survival in Lung Cancer (06/14/2007)

Avastin® plus Chemotherapy Improves Progression-free Survival with Advanced Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer (02/27/2007)

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