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Clinical trial shows benefit to adding avastin to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer patients
Date:8/23/2011

Amid the controversy surrounding the Food and Drug Administration's ruling that Avastin should no longer be used to treat metastatic breast cancer, a new multinational Phase III clinical trial shows that Avastin significantly increased tumor response rates in breast cancer patients when given before surgery.

At the annual meeting for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the nation's premier association of clinical oncologists, Harry D. Bear, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, Division of Surgical Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, presented the Avastin findings from the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) Protocol B-40 clinical trial. Bear, who served as the trial's protocol chair, explained that Avastin, when added to preoperative chemotherapy regimens, increased toxicity but also increased pathologic complete response rates by more than 6 percent (34.5 percent versus 28.4 percent) and clinical complete response rates by approximately 8 percent (64.3 percent versus 55.8 percent). Pathologic complete response was defined in the study as no remaining invasive cancer left in the breast, and clinical complete response was defined as a complete disappearance of cancer with no evidence of disease progression. Patients with hormone receptor positive breast cancers appeared to benefit most from the treatment.

"While encouraging, the results of this study will probably not affect standard neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy practices in the near term," says Bear. "There are many different types of breast cancer, and we need more definitive biological predictors of response in order to more accurately identify the patients who will benefit most from Avastin."

Though hormone receptor positive patients benefited most from the addition of Avastin in the NSABP Protocol B-40 trial, a second study presented during the same session at the ASCO meeting seemed to contradict the findings. The second stud
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Contact: Jenny Owen
Jrowen2@vcu.edu
804-628-2111
Virginia Commonwealth University
Source:Eurekalert

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