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Targeted cancer drug combined with low-dose chemotherapy shrinks tumors, slows ovarian cancer

ORLANDO, FLA. (May 15, 2005, 11:15 a.m., EDT) A targeted cancer drug given with low-dose chemotherapy shrank ovarian tumors and slowed progression of ovarian cancer in patients with recurrent disease, according to research findings presented by Agustin Garcia, M.D., principal investigator of the study and Director of Breast Cancer Research at the Women's Cancer Research Institute at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The targeted drug, bevacizumab (AvastinTM), is one of a new class of "anti-angiogenesis" drugs that prevents the growth of blood vessels that feed cancer tumors.

The study, presented at the 41st annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Orlando, Florida, evaluated 29 patients with recurrent ovarian cancer after having undergone up to three rounds of treatment with standard chemotherapy. All patients received a low dose of chemotherapy daily (taken in pill form) and bevacizumab by intravenous infusion. The investigators found that nearly half of the patients had no progression of their ovarian cancer six months after receiving treatment with bevacizumab and low-dose oral chemotherapy. In addition, tumors shrank in over 20 percent of patients.

"Our early results suggest that this targeted drug worked effectively with a pill form of low-dose chemotherapy to shrink or stop the growth of ovarian cancer in patients whose disease had recurred after prior treatment with standard chemotherapy," Garcia said.

Bevacizumab is the common name for AvastinTM, a monoclonal antibody that targets and stalls the function of a substance made by cells called the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which stimulates the growth of blood vessels that nourish cancer tumors and cause them to grow a process called angiogenesis. Currently, bevacizumab has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a first-line treatment in combination wit
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Contact: Kelli Hanley
kelli.hanley@cshs.org
310-423-3674
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
16-May-2005


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