Two studies on the cancer-fighting drug Avastin produced different results, with the tests by the drug’s maker, Roche, coming out more positive for the medication, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In a study presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, scientists said that Avastin hadn’t prolonged the lives or delayed disease progress in patients just diagnosed with glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, The Journal reported. That study was funded by the government.
A second study, which Roche sponsored, had a different finding. Its result was that Avastin “extended by 4.4 months the time glioblastoma patients lived without the disease progressing,” The Journal wrote, but “there wasn’t a gain in overall survival.”
Avastin is a major cancer drug for Roche and its Genentech unit. It cuts off the blood supply to a tumor, and generated $6.3 billion in global sales for Roche last year, The Journal reported.
The drug has been a controversial one. The Food and Drug Administration pulled its approval for Avastin’s use to treat breast cancer in 2011, according to The Journal. The drug won accelerated approval to be used for brain cancer after it helped patients who suffered relapses after chemo and radiation.
So we then had two follow-up studies, one by the National Institutes of Health and one by Roche. They both tested Avastin in conjunction with chemo and radiation, versus chemo and radiation alone, The Journal said.
The NIH study concluded that “there isn’t a role” for Avastin with just-diagnosed partients, the lead author told The Journal.
The Roche study found that Avastin improved the quality of life for for patients, by allowing them to live longer without their tumor growing, the head of that study told The Journal.