Genentech Inc.'s Avastin medicine prolonged the lives of patients with a form of recurrent or advanced lung cancer by two months, according to a study to be published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The median survival time of patients who received Avastin in addition to chemotherapy was 12.3 months, compared with 10.3 for those getting just the chemicals, researchers said. The report repeats and refines findings in abstracts released at American Society of Clinical Oncology meetings in Atlanta in June and in Orlando, Fla., in May 2005.
The research helped Genentech, the world's second-biggest biotechnology company, win U.S. approval in October to market Avastin for patients with advanced lung cancer. Alan Sandler, the study's lead author, said the drug was the first to extend the lives of chemotherapy patients and might eventually help people with earlier stages of lung cancer.
Sandler has received grant support and consulting and lecture fees from Genentech, as well as money from other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, according to the study.
The study was funded partly by the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health.