Researchers affiliated with the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) recently reported updated results from the E2100 Trial in which the addition of Avastin (bevacizumab) to Taxol® (paclitaxel) was evaluated in the treatment of advanced breast cancer. These results were reported at the 28th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS).
Avastin belongs to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies. Avastin produces its anticancer effects by targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and preventing the interaction of VEGF to its receptors.
VEGF, a type of protein, is important in a process leading to cellular growth, replication and spread, and new blood vessel formation. Avastin binds to VEGF and inhibits its normal effects. It reduces the growth and spread of cancer cells by inhibiting the growth of new blood vessels, making it harder for the tumor to grow.
Currently, Avastin is approved for the initial treatment of advanced colorectal cancer in combination with 5-fluorouracil-based therapy. Avastin continues to be evaluated with different chemotherapy combinations and targeted agents; it is demonstrating impressive results in various types of cancer.
The E2100 trial enrolled 722 patients with metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer. Women were randomly assigned to receive either Taxol alone or Taxol with Avastin.
Initial preliminary results of this trial were presented at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). These results demonstrated that the addition of Avastin to Taxol resulted in longer survival without cancer progression than treatment with Taxol alone among women with advanced breast cancer.
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Patients in this trial continue to be followed, and a second round of analyses was presented at SABCS. By this point, 484 patients had experienced cancer progression.
- A reduction in detectable cancer occurred in 14% of patients treated with Taxol alone, compared with 30% of patients treated with Avastin and Taxol.
- Median survival without cancer progression was 6 months in women treated with Taxol alone compared to 11 months in women treated with Avastin and Taxol.
- Overall survival was roughly three months longer in women treated with Avastin and Taxol. Longer follow-up will be necessary to confirm that there is a benefit in overall survival.
- Quality of life was similar in the two study groups.
The researchers concluded that updated results continue to confirm that the addition of Avastin to Taxol improves outcomes compared to Taxol alone in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
Reference: Miller K, Wang M, Gralow J, et al. A randomized phase III trial of paclitaxel versus paclitaxel plus bevacizumab as first-line therapy for locally recurrent or metastatic breast cancer: a trial coordinated by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (E2100). Proceedings from the 28th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. December 2005. Abstract #3.
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