According to the results of a Phase III clinical trial, the addition of Avastin® (bevacizimab) to chemotherapy with Gemzar® (gemcitabine) and Platinol® (cisplatin) resulted in better progression-free survival than chemotherapy alone among patients with advanced, nonsquamous non–small cell lung cancer. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for roughly 85% of all lung cancer. In advanced NSCLC, cancer has spread outside the lung. Initial treatment for patients with advanced NSCLC typically involves combination chemotherapy.
Avastin is a targeted anticancer drug that slows or prevents the growth of new blood vessels by inhibiting a protein known as VEGF; this deprives the cancer of oxygen and nutrients. Through its effects on blood vessels, Avastin may also improve the delivery of chemotherapy to cancer. Avastin has been shown to improve treatment outcomes in selected patients with advanced colorectal, breast, and non–small cell lung cancer, and is also being evaluated in other types of cancer.
For patients with advanced, nonsquamous NSCLC, the addition of Avastin to chemotherapy with Paraplatin® (carboplatin) and Taxol® (paclitaxel) has been shown to improve survival. To explore the effect of adding Avastin to another chemotherapy combination (Gemzar and Platinol), researchers conducted a Phase III clinical trial among 1,043 patients with advanced, nonsquamous NSCLC.
All of the study participants received chemotherapy with Gemzar and Platinol. In addition to chemotherapy, one-third of the patients received low-dose Avastin, one-third received high-dose Avastin, and one-third received a placebo.
- Median survival without cancer progression was 6.1 months among patients treated with chemotherapy alone, 6.7 months among patients treated with chemotherapy plus low-dose Avastin, and 6.5 months among patients treated with chemotherapy plus high-dose Avastin.
- Response rates (the proportion of patients with a reduction in detectable cancer following treatment) were 20.1% among patients treated with chemotherapy alone, 34.1% among patients treated with chemotherapy plus low-dose Avastin, and 30.4% among patients treated with chemotherapy plus high-dose Avastin.
These results provide additional evidence that the addition of Avastin to chemotherapy improves outcomes among patients with advanced nonsquamous NSCLC.
Reck M, von Pawel J, Zatloukal P et al. Phase III trial of cisplatin plus gemcitabine with either placebo or bevacizumab as first-line therapy for nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer: AVAiL. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2009;27:1227-1234.