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FDA Approves Bevacizumab Plus Chemotherapy for Platinum-Resistant, Recurrent Ovarian Cancer

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Key Points

  • The FDA approved bevacizumab plus chemotherapy for the treatment of patients with platinum-resistant, recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer.
  • Treatment with bevacizumab plus chemotherapy resulted in a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival.
  • When stratified by chemotherapy regimen, the addition of bevacizumab to paclitaxel provided the largest improvement in survival and response rates.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved bevacizumab (Avastin) in combination with paclitaxel, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin, or topotecan for the treatment of patients with platinum-resistant, recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer.

AURELIA Trial

The approval is based on the results of an international, randomized, two-arm trial (AURELIA) with the primary comparison of investigator-assessed progression-free survival. This trial compared bevacizumab plus chemotherapy vs chemotherapy alone. The trial enrolled 361 patients: 179 patients were assigned to receive bevacizumab plus chemotherapy, and 182 patients were assigned to receive chemotherapy alone. The chemotherapy included paclitaxel, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin, or topotecan.

Treatment continued until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, and/or consent withdrawal. All enrolled patients had received no more than two prior chemotherapy regimens, had ECOG performance status of 0 to 2 and had recurred within less than six months from the most recent platinum-based therapy.

The progression-free survival assessment demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in patients who received bevacizumab plus chemotherapy compared to those who received chemotherapy alone (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.30–0.49, P < .0001, stratified log-rank test). The median progression-free survival of patients who received bevacizumab plus chemotherapy was 6.8 months (95% CI = 5.6–7.8) compared to 3.4 months (95% CI = 2.1–3.8) for those receiving chemotherapy alone. There was no significant difference in overall survival (16.6 vs 13.3 months; HR = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.69–1.14).

The trial was stratified by chemotherapy regimen. Exploratory analyses were performed by comparing the addition of bevacizumab to each chemotherapy regimen. The addition of bevacizumab to paclitaxel provided the largest improvement, resulting in a 5.7-month improvement in median progression-free survival (9.6 vs 3.9 months; HR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.31–0.72), an improvement in the overall response rate of 23% (53% vs 30%), and a 9.2-month improvement in median overall survival (22.4 vs 13.2 months; HR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.41–1.01). Ninety-seven per cent of patients in the paclitaxel regimen had received paclitaxel with previous chemotherapy regimens. These exploratory analyses suggest that patients who have received prior treatment with paclitaxel may benefit from bevacizumab plus weekly paclitaxel.

Adverse Events

The most common adverse reactions (≥ 15%) in patients treated with bevacizumab plus chemotherapy were neutropenia, peripheral sensory neuropathy, and hypertension.

Gastrointestinal perforations were reported in 1.7% of bevacizumab-treated patients. Patients who had evidence of rectosigmoid involvement by pelvic examination or bowel involvement on CT scan or clinical symptoms of bowel obstruction were excluded from this trial. These exclusions may have contributed to the relatively low rate of perforation compared to reports from one earlier investigation of bevacizumab in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. Fistulae occurred in 2% of bevacizumab–treated patients and no patients receiving chemotherapy alone.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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