Advanced Cervical Cancer: Adding Avastin to Chemotherapy Prolonged Survival

Krishnansu S. Tewari, MD, FACOG, FACS| Professor & Director of Research Principal Investigator - The Gynecologic Oncology Group at UC Irvine The Division of Gynecologic Oncology University of California, Irvine Medical Center Orange, CA 92868MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Krishnansu S. Tewari, MD, FACOG, FACS| Professor & Director of Research
Principal Investigator – The Gynecologic Oncology Group at UC Irvine, Division of Gynecologic Oncology
University of California, Irvine Medical Center
Orange, CA 92868

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Tewari: The main findings of this study were that the addition of bevacizumab to chemotherapy resulted in a significantly improved survival of 3.7 months in a population of patients that have very limited options. This improvement in overall survival was not accompanied by any significant deterioration in quality of life and serious side effects were limited to 3% to 8% of the study population.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Tewari: The findings were not unexpected. We have known for decades that angiogenesis (ie., the formation of new blood vessels between the cancer and the patient) is an important process in cervical cancer. Angiogenesis allows the cancer to obtain nutrients to supports its growth. We now have a drug that can block angiogenesis and we were very pleased to learn that using this drug resulted in improved survival for these patients.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Tewari: We may have identified a therapeutic mechanism through which we can now improve survival in this population of patients to allow them to obtain further benefits from newer drugs currently being studied such as other inhibitors of angiogenesis, immunologic therapies, etc. Previously, advanced cervical cancer was a disease in which patients rarely could tolerate multiple lines of chemotherapy (unlike ovarian and breast cancers which can be made into chronic diseases with patients receiving many lines of therapy for many years). Now, with bevacizumab we may be on the cusp of being able to convert this disease into a more chronic one that doesn’t kill patients so quickly.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Tewari: First thing that needs to be done is to get the drug approved by the US FDA so that patients in greatest need can benefit from this therapy. Then we need to study other types of anti-angiogenesis therapy and immunologic therapy in this population of patients – many such trials are already underway.

Citation:

Improved Survival with Bevacizumab in Advanced Cervical Cancer

Krishnansu S. Tewari, M.D., Michael W. Sill, Ph.D., Harry J. Long, III, M.D., Richard T. Penson, M.D., Helen Huang, M.S., Lois M. Ramondetta, M.D., Lisa M. Landrum, M.D., Ana Oaknin, M.D., Thomas J. Reid, M.D., Mario M. Leitao, M.D., Helen E. Michael, M.D., and Bradley J. Monk, M.D.

N Engl J Med 2014; 370:734-743February 20, 2014DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1309748