(HealthDay News) — For women with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, the addition of bevacizumab (Avastin) to chemotherapy is associated with improved progression-free survival, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from June 1 to 5 in Chicago.

Eric Pujade-Lauraine, M.D., Ph.D., from the Université de Paris Descartes, and colleagues conducted a phase III randomized trial of bevacizumab involving 361 patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. Patients whose disease had progressed not more than six months after four or more cycles of platinum-based therapy were eligible for inclusion. Exclusion criteria included refractory ovarian cancer, history of bowel obstruction, and two or more previous anticancer regimens. Patients were randomly allocated to receive chemotherapy (pegylated liposomal doxorubicin, topotecan, or weekly paclitaxel) alone (182 patients) or chemotherapy with bevacizumab (179 patients). The primary end point was progression-free survival.

After a median follow-up of 13.5 months, the researchers found that 75 percent of the bevacizumab group had recurrence, compared with 91 percent of the chemotherapy-alone group. In the bevacizumab group, the median progression-free survival was 6.7 months, compared with 3.4 months in the chemotherapy-alone group.

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“These results are very significant because the addition of bevacizumab offers a new treatment option for the 20 percent of women who have primary platinum-resistant disease, as well as those whose disease later becomes platinum-resistant,” Pujade-Lauraine said in a statement. “For the first time in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, we have been able to significantly improve progression-free survival with a combination therapy.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Roche Diagnostics, which manufactures Avastin.

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