Roche Pharmaceuticals

New Roche Data to be Presented at ASCO Offers Further Hope for Cancer Patients

Basel, Switzerland (ots/PRNewswire) - Patients with breast or colorectal cancer, two of the world's most common cancers, can expect further treatment advances with Avastin(R) (bevacizumab) and Herceptin(R) (trastuzumab) following new data that is being presented at the 44th American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago at the end of May. Around 30,000 medical experts will attend the meeting which is the premier event for cancer therapy worldwide.

The Roche data will show that Avastin and Herceptin are continuing to offer further hope of improving survival in patients with cancers that are still devastating thousands of lives each year.

    Breast cancer
    - Avastin: Late-breaking Phase III data from the AVADO study
    investigating Avastin in combination with docetaxel (docetaxel, also
    known as Taxotere, is one of the most commonly used chemotherapies for
    breast cancer) will highlight the encouraging efficacy and safety results
    in patients treated first-line for locally recurrent or metastatic HER-2
    negative breast cancer.
    - Herceptin: New results using Herceptin-based therapy for patients with
    aggressive HER-2 positive breast cancer will also be unveiled. The GBG26
    study data will focus on the importance of continued treatment with
    Herceptin in women with advanced metastatic breast cancer whose disease
    progressed on a Herceptin-based therapy.
    - Pertuzumab: Very promising phase II data will be presented on the
    investigational drug pertuzumab which will highlight the benefits that
    pertuzumab in combination with Herceptin could offer to patients with
    advanced breast cancer. Pertuzumab is the first of a new, innovative
    class of targeted agents known as HER dimerisation inhibitors that can
    inhibit cancer cell growth and ultimately lead to death of cancer cells
    Colorectal cancer
    - Avastin: The first presentation of data from Avastin-based
    therapy with or without cetuximab (a drug which attacks cancer
    differently to Avastin) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer
    will be shared.
    - Avastin: Impressive long-term overall survival data at two
    years, involving some 4,000 patients treated with Avastin first-line in
    combination with a variety of chemotherapy regimens will confirm the
    pivotal role that Avastin is now playing in patients with advanced
    colorectal cancer. The results of the studies are significant because
    over 50 percent of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer currently die
    of the disease and these data show that improvements in survival are
    achievable. (1) 

Roche will present nearly 300 abstracts and posters at ASCO that demonstrate advances in other major cancers, as well as the data already described above in breast and colorectal. With one of the most comprehensive oncology research and development pipelines in the industry, Roche is striving to deliver even more treatment options in the fight against cancer. For example, Avastin's clinical trial program includes 40,000 patients worldwide.

    Key sessions at which Roche data will be presented include:
    Breast cancer
    Avastin      AVADO study. Miles D, et al,         Sunday I June 2008,
                 Abstract No. LBA1011, oral           8:30am - 8:45am, E
                 presentation                         Hall D1
                 ASCO press briefing                  Saturday 31 May
                                                      2008, 9.00am, Press
    Herceptin    HER2-positive metastatic breast      Tuesday 3 June 2008,
                 cancer study. Minckwitz G Von, et    8:00am - 12:00pm,
                 al, Abstract No. 1025, Poster No. 6. E450b
    pertuzumab   Results of a phase II trial of       Tuesday 3 June 2008,
                 trastuzumab and pertuzumab in        8:00am - 12:00pm,
                 patients with HER2-positive          E450b
                 metastatic breast cancer (MBC) who
                 had progressed during trastuzumab
                 therapy. Gelmon K et al, Abstract
                 No. 1026, Poster No. 7.
    Colorectal cancer
    Avastin      Initial Safety Report of National    Saturday 31 May
                 Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel   2008, 3:10 p.m. E
                 Project (NSABP) C-08, a Randomized   Hall D1
                 Phase III Study of Modified
                 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU)/Leucovorin and
                 Oxaliplatin (mFOLFOX6) With or
                 Without Bevacizumab in the Adjuvant
                 Treatment of Patients With Stage
                 II/III Colon Cancer
    Avastin      Randomized phase III study of        Saturday 31 May
                 capecitabine, oxaliplatin, and       2008, 4.45pm -
                 bevacizumab with or without          5.00pm, E Hall D1
                 cetuximab in advanced colorectal
                 cancer (ACC), the CAIRO2 study of
                 the Dutch Colorectal Cancer Group
                 (DCCG). Punt C, et al, Abstract No.
    Avastin      Surgery with curative intent in      Sunday 1 June 2008,
                 patients treated with first-line     8:00am - 12:00pm,
                 chemotherapy + bevacizumab for       E450a
                 metastatic colorectal cancer: First
                 BEAT and NO16966 Cassidy J, et al,
                 Abstract No. 4022, Poster No. 9
    Avastin      Final efficacy results for           Sunday 1 June 2008,
                 bevacizumab plus standard first-line 8:00am - 12:00pm,
                 chemotherapies in patients with      E450a
                 metastatic colorectal cancer: First
                 Berry S, et al, Abstract No. 4025,
                 Poster No. 12.
    Avastin      The safety of long-term bevacizumab  Monday 2 June 2008,
                 use: Results from the BRiTE          8.00am - 12.00pm, S
                 observational cohort study (OCS).    Hall A1
                 Purdie D, et al, Abstract No. 4103,
                 Poster No. 14G
    Avastin      Safety and effectiveness of          Sunday 1 June 2008,
                 bevacizumab (BV) and chemotherapy    8.00am - 12.00pm,
                 (CT) in elderly patients (pts) with  E450a
                 metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC):
                 Results from the BRiTE observational
                 cohort study. Kozloff M, et al,
                 Abstract N0. 4026, Poster No. 13 

Full details of key Roche data presentations will be available on Friday 30th May at an invitation-only media event for non-US journalists. All abstracts are available at:

    Editor's note
    - Breast Cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women, eight
    to nine percent of women will develop this cancer during their
    lifetime.(1) Each year more than one million new cases of breast cancer
    are diagnosed(2) with a death rate of over 500,000 people per year.(3)
    - Avastin doubles the chance of a patient living without their disease
    advancing (progression free survival). When used in combination with
    taxanes (chemotherapy), Avastin substantially increases the efficacy of
    treatment with limited impact on safety. Studies show that continual
    direct VEGF inhibition with Avastin maximizes the treatment benefit for
    the patient.
    - Herceptin is a humanised antibody specifically designed to target and
    block the function of HER2, which causes fast growing, aggressive breast
    cancer tumours. Herceptin delivers high cure rates for women with HER2
    positive early breast cancer and extends survival across all stages of
    HER2 positive breast cancer by activating the immune system and
    suppressing HER2. Herceptin is considered the foundation of care in women
    with HER2-positive breast cancer and is recommended in treatment
    guidelines throughout the world.
    - Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in developed countries(4)
    and the second most common cause of death from cancer across all cancer
    types in men and women across Europe.(5)
    - Avastin acts by blocking VEGF, the key mediator of tumor angiogenesis,
    offering patients a better chance of significantly improved survival.
    Avastin is the first anti-angiogenic inhibitor to increase survival in
    first and second line treatment and to provide significant improvements
    in the time that patients can live without their disease advancing. 

The 2008 ASCO Annual Meeting takes place from May 31 to June 3, McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Full details can be found at

If you or your media colleagues are interested in attending the Roche Media Event during ASCO on 30th May, where the data outlined in brief above will be presented, please contact Anne Cameron (see details below).

    1. Wilking N and Jonsson B. A Pan-European comparison regarding patient
    access to cancer drugs. Karolinska Institute in collaboration with
    Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden, 2005
    2. World Health Organisation (WHO) 2003.
    3. World Health Organisation, Projections of mortality and burden of
    disease to 2030:
    4. Parkin DM. Estimating the world cancer burden: GLOBOCAN 2000. Int. J
    Cancer 2001; (94): 153-156
    5. Boyle P, Ferlay J. Cancer incidence and mortality in Europe, 2004.
    Annals of Oncology 2005; 16:481-488 


For further information please contact: Christine McMenamin, Roche,
Tel: +41-61-688-2139, Mob: +41-79-618-7671; Anne Cameron, Galliard,
Tel: +44-207-663-2256, Mob: +44-78-416-36-871.

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