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Clinical trial results will change treatment for ovarian cancer
Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health 630-312-7508

Hinsdale – Research findings from a new clinical trial could change the way physicians treat ovarian cancer, according to Dr. Sudarshan Sharma, a gynecologic oncologist from Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.

More than 1,800 patients participated in a four-year clinical study. The clinical trial is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, in cooperation with Avastin’s manufacturer, Genentech, Inc. Researchers were led by the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG).

Sharma, one of the most active contributors to the clinical study, said women with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer (stage 3 or 4) who received a combination of the cancer drugs Avastin, carboplatin, and paclitaxel chemotherapy, along with maintenance use of Avastin alone, increased progression-free survival.

“The new combination provides a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival,” Sharma said. “This is very positive news. It will soon become the new protocol, or standard of care, for these types of patients.”

Genentech has submitted the data from the study for presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in early June in Chicago, followed by a detailed presentation at the Gynecologic Oncology Group in July in Boston.
The study included women with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer who had surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Participants were divided into three groups. One group received Avastin in combination with chemotherapy agents carboplatin and paclitaxel, followed by the maintenance use of Avastin alone, for up to 15 months of therapy.

The second group received the Avastin and chemotherapy combination followed by placebo maintenance alone, while the final group received the placebo in combination with chemotherapy, followed by placebo alone.

“The group treated with Avastin in conjunction with the chemotherapy followed by maintenance use of Avastin alone showed statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival,” Sharma said.

Avastin, already approved to treat some lung, breast, colorectal and kidney cancers, is usually given as part of a combination of cancer medicines. It interferes with the growth of cancer cells by blocking the formation and growth of new blood vessels in the tumor. There can be some adverse reactions to Avastin. In clinical trials, some people treated with Avastin experienced serious and sometimes fatal side effects, including gastrointestinal perforation, surgery and wound healing problems and severe bleeding.
At Adventist Midwest Health, physicians and patients are currently participating in more than 75 research trials covering a wide range of cancers and blood disorders.

“Thanks to these new methods of treatment and therapies, patients are surviving cancer more than ever before,” said David L. Crane, president and CEO, Adventist Midwest Health. “We strive to continually search for new ways to defeat cancer by providing this type of university-level research.”