What’s missing from this week’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting is analysis of costs. Yesterday we noted exemestane prevented one cancer for 1.1 million dollars spent.
Today we have the story that Avastin is useful to extend the lives of ovarian cancer patients 2.4 months for an estimated $100,000 (cost of one year’s treatment with the drug) plus the expenses of other chemotherapy, doctors visits, and imaging studies–probably another $50,000. Abstract of study here.
The trial enrolled 1,528 women with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer, of whom 90% had advanced disease, Kristensen reported.
They were treated over an 18-week period with a standard chemotherapy regimen of carboplatin (Paraplatin) and paclitaxel (Taxol), with or without bevacizumab.
Patients who were treated with bevacizumab also had maintenance therapy with bevacizumab for another 36 weeks, while those in the other arm were simply observed.
The primary endpoint of the study, he said, is progression-free survival and on that measure, women in the bevacizumab arm had a 13% benefit, which was significant at P=0.039.
For those women, the median time to progression was 19.8 months, compared with 17.4 for those in the control arm, he said.
It was also noted in a quote from the author of the study Gunnar Kristensen that “Overall survival, he said, was less clear”
Medicynical Note: This was a drug company (Roche) sponsored study–Kristensen has a financial relationship with Roche. It’s probably too much to hope that the cost of the intervention would be mentioned, much less factored into the discussion of the results.