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In a Phase III clinical trial, adding Avastin® (bevacizumab) to chemotherapy prolonged overall survival among women with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer. These results were presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Each year in the United States, more than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 4,000 die of the disease. Traditional chemotherapy drugs have limited effectiveness against advanced cervical cancer, highlighting the importance of finding new ways to treat this disease.

Avastin is a targeted therapy that blocks a protein—VEGF—that plays a key role in the development of new blood vessels. This deprives the cancer of nutrients and oxygen and inhibits its growth. Currently, Avastin is used for the treatment of selected patients with lung cancer, colorectal cancer, kidney cancer, or glioblastoma.

To evaluate the combination of Avastin and chemotherapy in the treatment of advanced cervical cancer, researchers with the Gynecologic Oncology Group conducted a Phase III clinical trial. The study enrolled 452 women with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer. Study participants were treated with chemotherapy alone or in combination with Avastin.

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  • The addition of Avastin improved overall survival by roughly four months: median overall survival was 17 months among women treated with chemotherapy plus Avastin and 13.3 months among women treated with chemotherapy alone.
  • Tumor shrinkage was also more common among women treated with Avastin: 48% of women in the chemotherapy plus Avastin group experienced tumor shrinkage, compared with 36% of women treated with chemotherapy alone.

These results indicate that the addition of Avastin to chemotherapy increases tumor shrinkage and improves survival among women with advanced cervical cancer.

Reference: Tewari KS, Sill M, Long III HJ. Incorporation of bevacizumab in the treatment of recurrent and metastatic cervical cancer: a Phase III randomized trial of the Gynecologic Oncology Group. Presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. May 31-June 4, 2013; Chicago, IL. Abstract 3.