UPDATE 1-MabThera can extend leukaemia patients' lives-Roche

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ZURICH, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Roche Holding AG ROG.VX said on Friday its top-selling cancer drug MabThera helped patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) to live longer without their disease getting worse, according to a second late-stage study.

Roche said a second Phase III trial had shown MabThera, in combination with the current standard chemotherapy regime, had achieved a “significant improvement in progression-free survival”, compared with patients treated with the standard chemotherapy regime alone.

The Swiss drugmaker said MabThera had met its main goal in a second Phase III trial. CLL is the most common form of adult leukaemia.

MabThera is known as Rituxan in the United States, where it is marketed by Genentech Inc DNA.N and Biogen Idec Inc BIIB.O.

It is Roche’s best-selling drug with sales of 2.9 billion Swiss francs ($2.6 billion) in the first half of 2008. (Reporting by Katie Reid; Editing by David Holmes)