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Avastin approved for cervical cancer in EU

Was approved for the same indication in the US last summer

Roche Avastin bevacizumab cancerRoche's Avastin has added to its long list of approved indications with a green light in the EU to treat cervical cancer. 

The European Commission has approved Avastin (bevacizumab) for use alongside chemotherapy in adults with persistent, recurrent or metastatic carcinoma of the cervix, a disease that is diagnosed in more than 30,000 women in Europe every year.

This patient group has very few therapeutic options and standard chemotherapy regimens are typically associated with median survival of 12 months or less.

Avastin can be given in tandem with paclitaxel and either cisplatin or topotecan and is the first new therapy in almost 10 years to have been shown to extend survival in cervical cancer. The drug was approved for this indication in the US last August.

The approval is based on the results of the GOG-0240 trial, which showed that women who received Avastin on top of chemotherapy lived around four months longer than those treated with chemotherapy alone, living for a median of 16.8 months versus 12.9 months with chemotherapy plus placebo.

Merck & Co and GlaxoSmithKline (GKS) both market effective vaccines that protect against HPV, which should mean the number of cases of cervical cancer will decline in the coming years. However, near-term there has been a downward trend in the uptake of screening for the disease.

While Roche's leading position in biologic cancer therapy is under threat from new immuno-oncology therapies such as Merck & Co's Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo (nivolumab), the new approval shows there is still growth to be had with more mature therapies such as Avastin

The product remains Roche's second-biggest seller, bringing in more than 6.42bn Swiss francs ($6.67bn) in 2014, up 6 per cent year-on-year.

Avastin's latest approval in carcinoma of the cervix comes after the product was given the go-ahead last year for ovarian cancer, and takes the number of approved indications in Europe to seven, extending across the most common forms of cancer. 

It is also in trials for additional indications including adjuvant treatment of HER2-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer and adjuvant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Article by
Phil Taylor

8th April 2015

From: Sales

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