September 24, 2007 / 10:47 AM / 12 years ago

UPDATE 1-Roche's Avastin helps inoperable colorectal cancer

(Adds more details, analyst’s comment)

ZURICH, Sept 24 (Reuters) - New clinical data showed Avastin improved the chances of a removal of metastatic lesions in patients with colorectal cancer, Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG ROG.VX said on Monday.

Data from the First BEAT trial demonstrated that a high number of patients treated with Avastin plus standard chemotherapy for colorectal cancer had metastatic lesions completely removed, Roche said.

The trial included 1,965 patients with advanced colorectal cancer with primarily inoperable metastatic disease.

Almost 12 percent of those patients became eligible for and underwent surgery during the course of treatment. Successful and complete removal of metastatic lesions was achieved in 79 percent of those patients.

“This outcome with Avastin is higher than has been previously seen in trials with other biologics/chemotherapy combinations,” Roche said in a statement.

Dresdner Kleinwort analysts said the data would not change their Avastin forecasts but they could be a positive indicator for use in enhancing the effectiveness of other treatments.

Roche participation certificates, its most widely traded form of equity, were 1.1 percent higher at 214.20 Swiss francs ($182.9) by 1031 GMT.

Avastin is the first in a class of drugs that seek to starve tumours of their blood and nutrients. It had global sales of about $2.5 billion in 2006 and Roche and U.S. partner Genentech Inc. DNA.N hope expanded uses will boost the franchise.

It is currently approved to treat colon and lung cancers.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer with approximately 1 million new cases worldwide every year.

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