Roche says combination therapy with its Avastin and Tarceva gets European backing for lung cancer treatment

pharmafile | June 8, 2016 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing European Commission, NSCL, RegulationC, Roche, Tarceva, avastin, drug trial, lung cancer 

Cancer drugmaker Roche (SIX: ROG) on Wednesday said the European Commission has approved its Avastin (bevacizumab) in combination with Tarceva (erlotinib) to treat a form of non-small cell lung cancer.  

Sandra Horning, chief medical officer, said: “The combination of Avastin and Tarceva represents a new standard of care for patients with this type of lung cancer. This approval provides physicians in Europe with a powerful combination therapy that can significantly extend progression-free survival beyond one year, representing important progress for a group of patients who typically face a poor prognosis.” 

Each year, about 23,000 Europeans are diagnosed with non-squamous NSCLC with EGFR-activating mutations, the leading cause of cancer-related death in Europe and across the world.   

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a protein that sits across the cell membrane and forms part of normal cell signalling. NSCLC with EGFR-activating mutations occurs when there is a mutation in a specific area of DNA in the EGFR gene, which leads to a change in the structure and function of the EGFR proteins and results in EGFR signalling being constantly active. This can cause accelerated cell growth and division, angiogenesis and the development of metastases. About 10%-15% percent of Europeans with NSCLC will have tumours with EGFR-activating mutations, representing an estimated 33,000 cases in Europe per year. 

Anjali Shukla

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