Ovarian Cancer Drug Added to Chemotherapy Extends Overall Survival

Standard chemotherapy plus bevacizumab extends survival by a median of 5 months.

Standard chemotherapy plus bevacizumab extends survival by a median of 5 months.

The addition of an angiogenesis inhibitor to standard chemotherapy was found to extend the overall survival of patients with ovarian cancer, a recent study found.

The study, presented at the recent Society of Gynecologic Oncology's Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer, reported overall survival for women receiving paclitaxel and carboplatin plus bevacizumab extended overall survival by a median 5 months longer than in women receiving the standard chemotherapy treatment alone.

A phase 3 randomized, controlled trial enrolled women with platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer. A group of 374 women received the standard treatment of paclitaxel and carboplatin, while a second group of 374 women received the 2 chemotherapy drugs plus bevacizumab.

Both cohorts received 6 cycles of paclitaxel and carboplatin and the study arm patients continued with bevacizumab maintenance. As opposed to prior ovarian therapy clinical trials of bevacizumab, the primary endpoint of the current study was overall survival.

The median overall survival in the chemotherapy plus bevacizumab cohort was 42.2 months, compared with 37.3 months in the chemotherapy alone cohort. Progression-free survival was 13.8 months in the bevacizumab group, compared with 10.4 months in the chemotherapy alone group. Risk reduction for progression and death were 39% and 17%, respectively.

Side effects included gastrointestinal damage and joint pain, but there was no indication of a significant safety concern. The researchers also are evaluating quality of life for women receiving bevacizumab and the role played by secondary surgery prior to chemotherapy.

"Most women whose ovarian cancer is recurring want every edge to extend their lives," lead author Robert L. Coleman, MD, said in a press release. "This trial, while not completely definitive, builds on previous data, offering hope that we can hone in on treatments to achieve that goal."