Score another win for Genentech and its cancer treatment Avastin (bevacizumab). On Monday, the biotech giant, now owned entirely by Roche, announced that FDA has approved the drug for kidney cancer.
Avastin blocks new blood vessels from forming and supplying tumors with the nutrients they need to grow and spread to other parts of the body.
Since it was first approved in 2004, Genentech has expanded Avastin’s uses to colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer. According to Roche, the treatment is being tested for treatment in more than 30 tumor types.
â€œWe hope that researchers some day find a cure for kidney cancer,â€ stated William P. Bro, chief executive of the Kidney Cancer Association, in a release.Â â€œUntil then, each new medicine, like Avastin, offers patients an opportunity to find the treatment best suited for them.â€
FDA approved this indication of Avastin after reviewing data from a study that documented a 67 percent increase in progression-free survival of patients receiving Avastin for previously untreated metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Additionally, 30 percent of patients taking Avastin with interferon alpha saw a drop in tumor size, compared to 12 percent in patients not taking Avastin.
According to Roche, the study was conceived to show an increase in overall survival in patients with this type of cancer. The company didnâ€™t succeed in that regard, stating that there was no improvement in overall survival. However, the endpoints that were reached were more than enough to satisfy FDAâ€™s approval process.
Avastin now enters a very crowded kidney cancer market with competition from Pfizer, Wyeth, and Bayer. However, CNN reports that many physicians have been using the drug off-label for kidney cancer, which could boost market penetration.