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According to a new study, adding the targeted therapy drug bevacizumab (Avastin) to chemotherapy and keeping patients on the drug after chemotherapy ends increases the amount of time it takes for advanced epithelial ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, and Fallopian tube cancer to grow and spread. These are all cancers of a woman's reproductive system that are treated similarly.
After surgery, the women in this study received one of three treatments: standard chemotherapy with paclitaxel and carboplatin, standard chemotherapy and bevacizumab, or standard chemotherapy and bevacizumab, followed by bevacizumab maintenance therapy (longer-term treatment after the main treatment ends) for up to 10 months.
The cancer took about four months longer to grow and spread for women who received standard chemotherapy and bevacizumab with bevacizumab maintenance therapy than women who received only standard chemotherapy.
What this means for patients
“This is the first time a large study has shown that a drug like bevacizumab slows the growth and spread of ovarian cancer for women with this very hard-to-treat disease,” said lead researcher Robert A. Burger, MD, Director of the Women's Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. “Based on these results, bevacizumab can be used as an initial treatment for patients with advanced ovarian cancer and other related cancers.” The side effects of bevacizumab include high blood pressure and low white blood cell counts.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What type of cancer do I have? What is the stage?
- What are my treatment options?
- Do you recommend targeted therapy?
- What clinical trials are open to me?
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