Avastin Achieves Impressive Rate of Curative Surgery in Patients With Advanced Colorectal Cancer

    Largest Series of Patients With Successful Surgery Reported in
    Large, Prospective Clinical Trial

    BARCELONA, Spain, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - New data from the large international
First BEAT trial unveiled today at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO)
demonstrate that a high number of patients treated with Avastin plus standard
chemotherapy for their colorectal cancer underwent complete surgical removal
of their metastatic lesions. Complete removal of metastatic lesions was
achieved in almost 80% of patients who were previously considered inoperable.
This outcome with Avastin is higher than has been previously seen in trials
with other biologics/chemotherapy combinations.
    The First BEAT trial included 1,965 patients with advanced colorectal
cancer with primarily inoperable metastatic disease. Patients received Avastin
in combination with the commonly used fluoropyrimidine based chemotherapy
regimens (i) as first line treatment and were assessed for their suitability
for potentially curative surgery during the course of the treatment.
    "The complete resection of metastatic lesions is the only option for cure
in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Therefore these results
represent a major step forward for the patient," said Dr Mondher Mahjoubi,
Global Head Medical Affairs Oncology, Roche. "The high rates of successful,
curative surgery achieved with Avastin plus standard chemotherapy are
impressive, especially because First BEAT is a trial looking at a general,
real life patient population".
    First BEAT results presented at ECCO demonstrated that 215 (11.5%) of all
patients included in the current data analysis (1,914) became eligible for and
underwent surgery with curative intent during the course of treatment.
Successful, complete removal of the metastatic lesions (R0 resection) was
achieved in 170 patients, an impressive success rate of 79%. The best outcomes
as expected were achieved in the subgroup of patients with metastatic disease
confined to the liver only (n=704). In this subgroup, 102 (14.5%) patients
underwent surgical removal of their liver metastases in curative intent with
successful complete (R0) resection achieved in 81 patients.
    No increase in wound-healing complications or bleeding incidents was
observed compared with historical controls underlining the favourable safety
profile of Avastin in this setting.
    Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer with approximately one
million new cases worldwide every year. It is estimated that over 50% of
people diagnosed with colorectal cancer will die of the disease(1).

    About First BEAT

    First BEAT is an international phase IV trial which has enrolled 1965,
community based patients from 41 countries worldwide. Patients diagnosed with
unresectable metastatic disease received Avastin in combination with standard
first line chemotherapy; the most common regimens were FOLFOX, XELOX, FOLFIRI
and Xeloda (capecitabine). The dose of Avastin used was equivalent to 2.5
mg/kg/week (5 mg/kg every 2 weeks with 5-FU-based regimens and 7.5 mg/kg every
3 weeks with capecitabine-based regimens).
    First BEAT completed recruitment in February 2006. The primary endpoint
was safety. General efficacy and surgery with curative intent were preplanned
secondary endpoints and data were collected in a prospective fashion. Efficacy
data from the BEAT trial are continuing to be evaluated with further data
presentations expected at upcoming oncology conferences.

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

    Additional information

    -   Roche in Oncology:

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

    -   Avastin: http://www.avastin-info.com


    (1). Boyle P, Langman JS. ABC of colorectal cancer. Epidemiology.
         BMJ 2000; 321:805-8

    (i) The chemotherapy regimens selected were at the treating physician's
        discretion. The most commonly used were FOLFOX, XELOX, FOLFIRI and
        Xeloda (capecitabine) which is a reflection of current clinical

For further information:

For further information: Roche, Christine Mage-Hill, +41-79-788-8245
(mobile on-site at ECCO); Galliard Healthcare, Dominic Elliston,
+44-0207-663-2266 (direct)

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