December 23, 2011 / 5:15 PM / 8 years ago

EU OKs Roche's Avastin for ovarian cancer

ZURICH (Reuters) - The European Commission has approved Roche’s drug Avastin for treating women with newly diagnosed, advanced ovarian cancer, offering new options to sufferers previously limited to surgery and chemotherapy.

The Swiss drugmaker is the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs. The EU’s approval was granted for Avastin in combination with standard chemotherapy, it said in a statement on Friday.

“Today’s approval of Avastin marks the first major treatment advance in newly diagnosed ovarian cancer in 15 years,” said Chief Medical Officer Hal Barron. “This is the fifth tumor type for which Avastin has been approved in Europe, making it one of few biologic drugs indicated for multiple cancers.”

In two late-stage studies, Roche found that women with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer who used Avastin and chemotherapy and then continued on just Avastin lived quite a bit longer without their disease getting worse compared with those who received only chemotherapy.

Ovarian cancer is the most deadly of the gynecological cancers, with 140,000 women dying from the disease each year globally, Roche said.

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