Chemotherapy plus bevacizumab, also known as Avastin, has been reported to prolong women cervical cancer patient’s lives by almost 4 months.
Median overall survival was 17 months with Avastin versus 13.3 months with just chemotherapy alone. The addition of Avastin led to a higher response rate but was also linked to more toxicity.
Pairing bevacizumab with platinum-based or nonplatinum chemotherapy did not significantly affect the results, per an article published in the Feb. 20 New England Journal of Medicine.
“There has been a large unmet medical need for active treatments for cervical cancer, which is a leading cause of death from cancer in developing countries,” Krishnansu Tewari, MD, of the University of California Irvine, and co-authors concluded. “In the poorest regions, where rates are highest … many women are forced by socioeconomic and political circumstances to act as the sole provider for their young families.”
These findings confirm reports last year at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.
The study is the first to show a survival benefit in cervical cancer treated with a targeted agent, said Carol Aghajanian, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
“This is a great example of NCI dollars and the cooperative-group system delivering results,” Aghajanian told MedPage Today in an email. “Cervical cancer affects women in the prime of their lives. Cervical cancer patients are often mothers with minor children. This is a major advance and clinical benefit to these patients and will be important in U.S. clinical practice.”
In most instances, early-stage or locally advanced cervical cancer can be cured by surgery, platinum-based chemoradiation, or a combination of the two. Patients that experience recurrent, refractory, or metastatic disease have limited options. Avastin demonstrated single-agent activity in a population of heavily pretreated cervical cancer. Providing reasoning for looking into the angiogenesis inhibitor in combination with chemotherapy.