Avastin(R) Significantly Prolongs Progression Free Survival in Patients With Advanced Lung Cancer



    - Only First-line Treatment to Demonstrate Extended Survival in Over
    a Decade

    CHICAGO, IL, June 2 /CNW/ - Avastin (bevacizumab), significantly improves
the time patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) live
without their disease advancing ("progression free survival") when added to
cisplatin/gemcitabine chemotherapy, compared with chemotherapy alone. NSCLC is
the most common form of the disease and accounts for more than 80 percent of
all lung cancers(ii), with histology other than squamous cell as the most
common subtype accounting for approximately 60 percent of NSCLC cases. These
findings were presented for the first time, today at the 43rd annual meeting
of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

    The results of the Avastin in Lung ("AVAiL", BO17704) trial showed that
by adding Avastin to a cisplatin/gemcitabine regimen:

    
    -   Progression free survival was significantly prolonged by 20 to 30 %
        over chemotherapy alone
    -   Tumour response rate was increased by up to 70% compared with
        chemotherapy alone
    -   Duration of tumour response was increased from 4.7 to 6.1 months
        compared with chemotherapy alone
    

    "Avastin is the only treatment in over a decade which has extended
survival for patients with previously untreated advanced NSCLC as demonstrated
by the pivotal E4599 trial. AVAiL now shows that Avastin is also effective
when administered with a different chemotherapy regimen" said Professor
Christian Manegold, Professor of Medicine, Heidelberg University, University
Medical Center, Mannheim, Germany and Principal Investigator of the study.
"Lung cancer is an extremely difficult disease to treat and this will give
real hope to many patients."
    Two doses of Avastin were investigated in the study (7.5 and 15 mg/kg)
and both demonstrated similar benefits. No new or unexpected adverse events
were observed. Overall survival data are still pending and will be presented
at a future oncology conference.
    Lung cancer accounts for 1 in 3 cancer related deaths in men and 1 in 4
in women. Worldwide, there are more than 1.2 million new cases of lung and
bronchial cancer diagnosed each year,(i) and new treatment options are
urgently needed as the disease has a very high mortality rate.

    About AVAiL

    The AVAiL study is a randomised, controlled, double-blind Phase III study
that includes more than 1,000 patients with previously untreated advanced
NSCLC, the most common form of lung cancer, with histology other than squamous
cell. The primary objective of the study was to demonstrate superiority in
progression-free survival of both Avastin containing treatment arms versus the
control regimen.
    In the AVAiL study patients received treatment with either Avastin at
7.5mg/kg or 15mg/kg + cisplatin-gemcitabine or placebo + cisplatin-gemcitabine
and a similar treatment effect was observed between the two arms.

    About Lung Cancer

    The majority of NSCLC cases are still diagnosed at an advanced stage when
the cancer is inoperable or has already spread to another part of the body. In
spite of the use of chemotherapy as the first-line treatment option, less than
five percent of people with advanced NSCLC survive for five years after
diagnosis and most die within twelve months(i)(ii).

    About Avastin

    Avastin is the first treatment that inhibits angiogenesis - the growth of
a network of blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen to cancerous
tissues. Avastin targets a naturally occurring protein called VEGF (Vascular
Endothelial Growth Factor), a key mediator of angiogenesis, thus choking off
the blood supply that is essential for the growth of the tumour and its spread
throughout the body (metastasis).
    Avastin has now demonstrated a progression-free and/or overall survival
benefit for patients in four cancer types, namely: colorectal, breast, lung
and renal cell cancer.
    Roche and Genentech are pursuing a comprehensive clinical programme
investigating the use of Avastin in various tumour types (including
colorectal, breast, lung, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, renal cell
carcinoma and others) and different settings (advanced and adjuvant ie
post-operation). The total development programme is expected to include over
40,000 patients worldwide.

    About Roche

    Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading
research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and
diagnostics. As the world's biggest biotech company and an innovator of
products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and
treatment of diseases, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to
improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is the world leader in
diagnostics and drugs for cancer and transplantation, a market leader in
virology and active in other major therapeutic areas such as autoimmune
diseases, inflammation, metabolism and central nervous system. In 2006 sales
by the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 33.3 billion Swiss francs, and the
Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.7 billion Swiss francs. Roche employs
roughly 75,000 worldwide and has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with
numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and
Chugai. Additional information about the Roche Group is available on the
Internet at www.roche.com.

    All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are protected by law.

    Additional information
    Roche in Oncology:
    www.roche.com/pages/downloads/company/pdf/mboncology05e_b.pdf

    Roche Health Kiosk, Cancer
    www.health-kiosk.ch/start_krebs

    Avastin: www.avastin-info.com

    
    References

    (i)   Stewart BW and Kleihues P. World Cancer Report. IARC Press, Lyon,
          pp.183-87, 2003
    (ii)  Wilking N and Jonsson B. A Pan-European comparison regarding
          patient access to cancer drugs. Karolinska Institute in
          collaboration with Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm,
          Sweden, 2005.
    





For further information:

For further information: Roche, Erica Bersin, +41-61-688-2164 (direct),
+41-79-618-7672 (mobile on-site at ASCO); Galliard Healthcare, Jon Harris,
+44-(0)207-663-2261 (direct)

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