Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Drug Doesn't Improve Cancer Survivial Very Much

Avastin plus chemotherapy "is the first therapy in 10 years to improve on standard first-line treatment for advanced lung cancer and the first FDA approved therapy ever to extend survival for these patients beyond one year in a large, randomized clinical study," Alan Sandler, MD, says in Genentech's news release.

"For decades, we've known that standard chemotherapy can improve survival for lung cancer patients, but we have not made improvements in survival beyond the gains made using that approach," Licthenfeld notes.

"That makes even the modest improvement in survival provided by Avastin important," he says.

Fifty-one percent of those receiving Avastin plus chemotherapy survived for at least one year, compared with 44% of those who got chemotherapy without Avastin, according to Genentech.

On average, patients who received Avastin plus chemotherapy lived one year, compared with 10 months for patients treated with chemotherapy alone.

Alex writes: So by taking this drug patients with advanced lung cancer got an additonal two months of life. It is better than nothing but not that great. But wait there is more.

Avastin, which is given intravenously, is not a new drug.

The FDA first approved it in February 2004 for use in combination with chemotherapy to treat metastatic colorectal cancer (cancer that has spread beyond the colon or rectum).

Avastin is believed to target a growth factor called VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). By blocking the action of VEGF, Avastin hampers the growth of new blood vessels that bring blood to tumor.

Basically, the strategy is to deprive tumors of their blood supply, thereby starving them. Such drugs are called angiogenesis inhibitors.

What foods and herbs will do this? Stay tuned