Consumer Drug Report - Avastin approval
European Commission approves Avastin® as ovarian cancer treatment

The European Commission made the decision to approve Avastin as a treatment for women diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in January 2012. According to a study conducted on over 1,500 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the drug was shown to add four months to the amount of time it typically takes ovarian cancer to worsen.

Patients that were treated with a combination of chemotherapy and Avastin claim they did not experience advanced ovarian cancer progression for 14 months compared to 10 months without the drug. The study notes that the additional amount of time lived by women with ovarian cancer on Avastin is not much greater than the amount of time lived by women with ovarian cancer and not on Avastin.

There were a total of three groups of women who were a part of the study: one group received chemotherapy and placebo, the second group received Avastin and chemotherapy at the start of treatment and received only chemotherapy at the end of treatment, and the third group received Avastin and chemotherapy throughout the entire treatment.

Avastin, which is manufactured by Genentech, is a drug which was designed to inhibit the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. Currently the drug is approved to treat certain types of colon, lung, kidney, and brain cancers. The FDA considered approving the drug to treat breast cancer but pulled back due to a study which showed that women with breast cancer who were on the Avastin medication did not live much longer than women who had breast cancer not taking the drug and that side effects were severe.

Though Avastin has been approved for ovarian cancer treatment by the European Commission, it is still unclear whether the drug will be approved in the United States. Currently the FDA is looking into the data to determine whether it will be approved. 

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