Avastin, Erbitux rack up data gains

As the big European cancer meeting wrapped up, more data is coming out. Today's crop of info on existing drugs focuses mostly on breast and ovarian cancer, with some good news on both fronts. Eli Lilly's latest foray into head-and-neck cancer, however, is a different story.

  • Data on Roche's cancer multi-tasker Avastin showed that the drug helped stave off growth of ovarian cancer, one form of the disease that hasn't seen really promising new treatments in 20 years. But Avastin was most helpful for the first year of treatment. Researchers are calling for more long-term study. News | Report

  • Erbitux, the Eli Lilly/Merck KGaA drug, helped delay the spread of "triple-negative" breast cancer by about two months. The results weren't as dramatic as the researchers had hoped, but they still viewed the data as "vastly positive." More study will be necessary to win regulatory approval for a breast cancer indication, however. Article

  • Lilly dropped plans to seek approval for its established drug Alimta as a treatment for head and neck cancer after the medicine failed in a late-stage clinical trial. Although Alimta patients did survive for one month longer than those on chemo alone, the difference wasn't statistically significant. Story