The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently pulled its approval for the breast cancer fighting drug Avastin and now the drug is said to have provided disappointing results during two ovarian cancer testing trials.
Both studies found that the drug did nothing to improve the survival rate for most patients taking the drug. The studies also found that while Avastin helped keep the disease from worsening for several months it also brought on more side effects.
In the meantime Genentech has recently gained approval for Avastin in Europe as an advanced stage ovarian cancer drug but has no plans to immediately seek the same approval in the United States. According to company spokeswoman Charlotte Arnold:
“We do not believe the data will support approval.”
Avastin lost approval in the United States in November when the FDA found that the drug did not “meaningfully extend life” while still providing for serious side effects. The drug despite it’s success rate came with a $100,000 per year price tag.
While breast cancer is not approved at this time the drug is still used to target some forms of colon, kidney, lung and brain cancers.
The study conducted by Dr. Robert Burger of Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia found that 1,900 women with ovarian cancer had a media time for progression of 10 months in those given just chemotherapy while Avastin users only extended that time by one to four months. The study also found that side effects were worsened including high blood pressure, stomach and gut problems.
The second study found that 1,500 ovarian cancer patients only extended their life expectancy by one to two months when compared to a standard chemotherapy regime while once again increasing blood pressure.
Both studies were partially funded by Genentech.
Have you known anyone who actually had positive results from Avastin during their fight against breast cancer?