Genentech phase 3 study shows improved survival in advanced lung cancer patients when Avastin treatment is combined with OSI's Tarceva


SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. A phase 3 study of a combination of a monoclonal antibody and a cancer pill has found that the two improved chances of survival in patients with advanced lung cancer.

Genentech announced Monday that the trial, involving its drug Avastin (bevacizumab) and OSI Pharmaceuticals' Tarceva (erlotinib), was stopped early on recommendation of an independent data safety monitoring board after analysis showed the combination to extend the time patients lived without their disease advancing. The patients in the study received the combination following initial treatment with Avastin and chemotherapy in advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

The placebo-controlled study involved 1,157 patients with locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic NSCLC.

"This is the second study to show that people with lung cancer who took the daily pill Tarceva following initial treatment lived longer without their cancer getting worse," Genentech SVP development and chief medical officer Hal Barron said in a statement. "Tumors use different pathways to grow, and these results showed that combining medicines targeting two of these pathways instead of one delayed disease progression."

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