Improved Survival with Bevacizumab in Advanced Cervical Cancer

SUMMARY: Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer affecting women, worldwide. It is also the fourth most common cause of cancer death. With the availability of widespread screening techniques and HPV vaccination in the U.S., the incidence of cervical cancer is declining. Treatment of advanced cervical cancer continues to be a challenge. To address this further, the authors in this study evaluated the benefit of adding AVASTIN® (Bevacizumab) to conventional chemotherapy regimens, for patients with advanced cervical cancer. AVASTIN®, a humanized Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) targeted monoclonal antibody, has demonstrated single-agent activity in heavily pretreated patients with recurrent cervical carcinoma in phase II trials. In this randomized study, 452 enrolled patients with metastatic, persistent or recurrent cervical cancer received one of the four treatment regimens using a 2×2 factorial design. The four treatment groups included a) Cisplatin 50 mg/m2 plus TAXOL® (Paclitaxel) 135 or 175 mg/m2 (N=114), b) HYCAMTIN® (Topotecan) 0.75 mg/m2 given on D1 thru D3 plus TAXOL® 175 mg/m2 given on Day 1 (N=111), c) Cisplatin 50 mg/m2 plus TAXOL® 135 or 175 mg/m2 given along with AVASTIN® 15mg/kg on Day 1 (N=115) and d) HYCAMTIN® 0.75 mg/m2 given on D1 thru D3 plus TAXOL® 175 mg/m2 given on Day 1, along with AVASTIN® 15mg/kg on day 1 (N=112). Treatment was given every 21 days until disease progression, the development of unacceptable toxicities or a complete response was noted. The primary end point was Overall Survival and secondary endpoints included Progression Free Survival (PFS) and Response Rate (RR). When outcomes were analyzed, HYCAMTIN® based chemotherapy was not superior to Cisplatin based chemotherapy, regardless of prior exposure to Cisplatin. The addition of AVASTIN® to chemotherapy resulted in a significantly longer median Overall Survival (17 vs 13.3 months; HR=0.71; P=0.004), significantly longer median PFS (8.2 vs 5.9 months; HR=0.67; P=0.002) and RR (48% vs 36%; P=0.008), compared to combination chemotherapy alone. The benefit with added AVASTIN® was noted in all subgroups regardless of age, race, performance status and prior platinum exposure. Treatment was in general well tolerated without significant reduction in quality of life. As was seen in other tumor types, AVASTIN® based chemotherapy regimen was associated with a higher incidence of hypertension and thromboembolic events. The authors concluded that the addition of AVASTIN® to combination chemotherapy significantly decreased the risk of death in patients with recurrent, persistent, or metastatic cervical cancer. Tewari KS, Sill MW, Long HJ, et al. N Engl J Med 2014; 370:734-743