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Hycamtin Combination Approved for Advanced Cervical Cancer

Extended survival by nearly 3 months

THURSDAY, June 15, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- The first combination of drugs to treat late-stage cervical cancer received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval Thursday.

Hycamtin (topotecan hydrochloride) -- already approved to treat cancers of the ovaries and lungs -- is newly sanctioned in combination with cisplatin to treat cervical cancer that's too advanced or is unlikely to respond to treatments including surgery and radiation, the agency said.

Some 10,000 U.S. women are diagnosed annually with cervical cancer, leading to 3,700 deaths each year. In clinical trials involving 293 women, participants who used the combination survived an average of 9.4 months, versus 6.5 months among those who took cisplatin alone, the FDA said

Hycamtin, made by GlaxoSmithKline, was approved in 1996 for ovarian cancer and in 1998 for small-cell lung cancer. People who take it are at risk for neutropenia, a drop in white blood cell count that boosts a person's risk of infections. Users are also at risk for a decrease in blood platelets, which could lead to excessive bleeding and anemia, the FDA said.

More information

To find out more about cervical cancer, visit Medline Plus.

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