Jan 23 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on
Wednesday approved the use of Roche's Avastin for
patients whose colorectal cancer has worsened despite previous
treatment with the drug.
The new use will allow patients first treated with Avastin
plus chemotherapy to be treated again with the biotechnology
drug in combination with a different chemotherapy regimen.
A pivotal clinical trial showed that such a treatment
strategy improved survival.
"The majority of people diagnosed with metastatic colorectal
cancer receive Avastin plus chemotherapy as their initial
treatment," Hal Barron, chief medical officer at Roche's
Genentech unit, said in a statement. "These people now have the
option to continue with Avastin plus a new chemotherapy after
their cancer worsens, which may help them live longer than
changing to the new chemotherapy alone."
Avastin, also known as bevacizumab, is an antibody that
blocks vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, a protein
tumors need to grow nutrient-providing blood vessels.
The drug is approved in the United States for treating
glioblastoma, a brain tumor, and colorectal, lung and kidney
Worldwide Avastin sales totaled $5.3 billion Swiss francs
($5.5 billion) in 2011.