ASCO: Sprycel, Avastin Work for Blood, Renal Cancers

Research suggests that targeted cancer therapies continue to impress

MONDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Two much-watched drugs of the past year, Sprycel and Avastin, are again showing good results in new trials, according to research presented Saturday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

Preliminary findings from a phase II trial of Sprycel (dasatinib) found high response rates to the drug when used in newly diagnosed patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia.

After three months, 81 percent of patients taking Sprycel had a complete hematologic response; 73 percent of patients had a complete cytogenetic response. After six months, 95 percent had a complete cytogenetic response, the trial found.

A second study found that adding Avastin (bevacizumab) to interferon alpha-2a as a first-line treatment for advanced kidney cancer nearly doubled progression-free survival, from 5.4 months to 10.2 months. It's not yet known if overall survival will be better with Avastin.

"Molecular targeted therapies that were developed a few years ago are being expanded dramatically in scope," said Robert F. Ozols, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president of the medical science division at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and chairman of ASCO's communications committee.

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