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Posted by on Oct 7, 2008 in Oncology, Pharma

Tarceva Plus Avastin Disappoint

Tarceva Plus Avastin Disappoint

Targeted, combination therapy in cancer sure seems like a good idea. However, the addition of the anti-angiogenesis mAb bevacizumab (Avastin; Genentech) to the EGFR inhibitor erlotinib (Tarceva; Genentech/OSI) did not improve overall survival in patients with platinum-refractory non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The results of the phase 3 trial (BeTa Lung) of the combination were provided by Genentech on Sunday in a press release.

In an international, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 3 trial, 636 patients with advanced, platinum-refractory NSCLC received erlotinib with either randomly assigned bevacizumab or placebo. Median survival, the primary endpoint, was 9.2 months in both treatment groups, according to the press release. But progression-free survival and the response rate, secondary endpoints, were higher with the addition of bevacizumab. These data, along with adverse events, will be presented at the upcoming Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology in November.

Bevacizumab is approved as first-line treatment (with carboplatin and paclitaxel) in locally advanced, nonsquamous NSCLC, and erlotinib is approved for chemotherapy-refractory NSCLC. Another phase 3 study is evaluating the combination as first-line maintenance therapy for advanced NSCLC after treatment with bevacizumab.

Although the WSJ reported that Genentech and OSI shares fell on the trial news, stock pricesat least in the case of Genentechappear to be riding along with the very bumpy indexes.


 EGFR = epidermal growth factor receptor; mAb = monoclonal antibody.

bmartin (1130 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.