Colon cancer is the third common form of cancer across the globe as if kills over 655,000 people annually, 55,000 of them in the United States alone with 120,000 new cases occurring in the country each year. Colon cancer can develop from benign tumors in the rectum, appendix, or colon. Colon cancer screening should begin at the age of 50 and it includes colonoscopies, virtual colonoscopies, fecal occult blood testing and many other options. Colon cancer is treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and medications. One of those medications used to treat colon cancer is named Avastin. A study found that combining the use of Avastin with regular chemotherapy treatments can result in the shrinking or disappearance of liver metastases in 78 percent of patients that have advanced colon cancer. A third of those patients with previously inoperable liver metastases then became eligible for a potentially lifesaving surgery after using Avastin with chemotherapy.
“The data from BOXER shows that Avastin in combination with standard chemotherapy has the ability to shrink metastatic lesions which might allow surgical removal and therefore offer a potential for cure for 2/5 patients with advanced disease,” said Professor David Cunningham. Cunningham is the Head of the Gastrointestinal Unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital, UK. Other information obtained from the results of the study include the time period patients lived without the disease advancing. Patients aged 65 years or younger lived 10.8 months without their disease advancing, patients aged between 65 and 74 lived 11.2 months without their disease advancing, and patients aged 75 years or older lived 10 months without their disease advancing.
Another drug studied in the Avastin study was Xelox. “We know that XELOX helps keep patients free from recurrence of their cancer longer,’’ said Dr Dan Haller. Haller is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “These results now confirm that patients have an additional option for the treatment of stage III colon cancer. In these potentially curable patients, XELOX offers the additional benefit of an oral medication, Xeloda.’’
“Colorectal cancer sadly claims more than 600,000 lives each year, despite the treatment advances made in the last decade” said William M. Burns. Burns is the CEO of Roche’s Pharmaceuticals. “Today’s announcements about Avastin and Xeloda are therefore very welcome news for patients and their families as they offer more options for fighting this disease and hope that some patients may even have the potential to be cured” said Burns.
It is estimated that more than 500,000 patients across the globe have been treated with Avastin so far when it comes to fighting colon cancer, one of the most common forms of cancer across the globe today. Other trials are being conducted regarding the use of Avastin to treat other forms of cancerous tumors including colorectal, breast, 4/5 non-small cell lung, brain, gastric, ovarian, prostate and many other forms of cancer. If the studies turn out to show that Avastin can treat these forms of cancers then this will be a major medical breakthrough regarding the treatment of cancer.