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Avastin May Boost Survival in Advanced Cervical Cancer: Study
Date:6/2/2013

SUNDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- The cancer drug Avastin may extend the lives a bit of women with advanced cervical cancer, a new study says.

Overall, patients given Avastin (bevacizumab) lived four months longer on average than those being treated with standard chemotherapy alone, said researchers scheduled to present the results Sunday in Chicago at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

"Women with advanced cervical cancer don't have many options," study lead author Dr. Krishnansu Sujata Tewari, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, Irvine, noted in an ASCO news release. "We finally have a drug that helps women live longer. This is also possibly a first step toward turning cervical cancer into a chronic disease, helping women live longer and allowing time for additional treatments that could further slow the cancer's progression and improve survival."

The study was funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Tewari's team noted that advanced cervical cancer typically does not respond well to chemotherapy. Although U.S. cervical cancer rates have fallen dramatically over the past century due to the advent of the Pap test, roughly 4,000 American women still die each year from the disease. Globally, cervical cancer kills 250,000 women annually.

The new study focused on 452 women, all of whom were being treated with one of two standard chemotherapy regimens -- cisplatin plus paclitaxel or topotecan plus paclitaxel.

Half the women were randomly assigned to receive Avastin as well.

The result: those getting both chemotherapy and Avastin had an average survival of 17 months, compared with just 13.3 months among those being treated with chemotherapy alone. The rate of tumor reduction was also higher among those receiving the double treatment: 48 percent for those taking Avastin versus 36 percent among those who didn't take it.'/>"/>

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