Success with Ovarian Cancer Drug

CHICAGO, June 6 (UPI) — Long-term use of Avastin, a drug used to treat lung, colorectal and breast cancers, appears to help women with advanced ovarian tumors, a new study shows.

In a study presented Sunday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Robert Burger of the Gynecologic Oncology Group said in a study of 1,873 patients, the use of Avastin over the long term kept women’s cancers in check for an average of 14 months, about four months longer than in women who only received chemotherapy, USA Today reported.

A short course of the drug did not appear to have any benefit, Burger said.

Approved in 2004, Avastin works differently than chemo. It dries up the blood supplies nourishing tumors instead of directly killing the fast-growing cells, the newspaper said.

There are serious side effects to the drug including potentially life-threatening high blood pressure, severe bleeding or perforated intestines, researchers warn.

One patient, Sandy Walker, 61, says she is happier with the drug than standard chemo, which left her sick after every dose.

“When you are first diagnosed, there is a tendency to think there is no hope,” says Walker, from Greensboro, N.C. “It would boost people’s spirits to know that, even if this isn’t curing it, it’s holding it at bay. And I’ll take that.”

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