This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

ASCO '11: Roche, Avastin and Ovarian Cancer

Stocks in this article: RHHBY.PK NKTR EXEL ECYT

CHICAGO ( TheStreet) --Treatment with Roche's (RHHBY) Avastin helps women with ovarian cancer extend the time before their disease worsens but as of yet, the blockbuster drug has not definitively prolonged overall survival.

Results from two phase III studies of Avastin in ovarian cancer were released Saturday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting. Roche has already filed Avastin for European approval in ovarian cancer. Genentech, Roche's U.S.-based arm, intends to seek U.S. approval for the drug before the end of 2011.

Avastin is widely used to treat a variety of cancers and sales totaled amost $8 billion last year, but investors have been concerned about future growth given efforts by regulators to rescind approval for use of the drug in breast cancer. Roche is fighting those efforts but the outcome is still uncertain, all of which makes approval and use of the drug in ovarian cancer more important to the company.

In the first phase III study, dubbed OCEANS, the use of Avastin in combination with chemotherapy in women with recurrent ovarian cancer reduced the risk of disease progression by 52% compared to treatment with chemotherapy alone.

"Women taking bevacizumab Avastin lived for longer periods without disease progression and without having to go back on chemotherapy," said Dr. Carol Aghajanian of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. "This is good news for women with these cancers, as we are increasingly able to treat ovarian cancer as a chronic disease."

After two years of follow up, the median progression-free survival for women treated with Avastin and chemotherapy was 12.4 months, compared to 8.4 months for women treated with chemotherapy alone.

In addition, 79% of women treated with Avastin-chemo reported significant tumor shrinkage, compared to 57% treated with chemo alone. The duration of response (how long the tumor shrinkage lasted) was also longer for the patients in the Avastin group (10.4 months versus 7.4 months).

In the early analysis of overall survival of the OCEANS study, women receiving Avastin plus chemotherapy lived 35.5 months compared to 29.9 months in women who received chemotherapy alone. That's a trend favoring Avastin but not yet statistically significant.

In a second phase III study, dubbed ICON7, involving women with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer, Roche/Genentech reported Saturday for the first time that treatment with Avastin resulted in a 15% reduction in the risk of death.

This survival benefit, while trending in Avastin's favor, is not yet statistically significant. At a median of 28 months follow up, 178 women treated with Avastin and chemotherapy in the study had died compared to 200 women treated with chemotherapy alone. Roche intends to continue following the patients in this study for overall survival and a final analysis will be conducted after 715 deaths have occurred.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,859.42 +54.62 0.31%
S&P 500 2,073.22 +2.57 0.12%
NASDAQ 4,776.0770 +10.6970 0.22%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs