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Roche's Tecentriq-Avastin combo extends lives of liver cancer patients

Roche Holding AG's therapy Tecentriq combined with Avastin improved overall survival in certain patients with the most common type of liver cancer, a late-stage study showed.

The phase 3 trial, dubbed IMbrave150, met its two main goals of showing the drug combination extended the lives of patients and did not worsen their disease over a period of time compared to the standard of care.

The Swiss pharmaceutical giant's Genentech Inc. unit evaluated the two-drug combination versus sorafenib in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC, who did not receive any prior cancer treatments and whose tumors could not be removed via surgery.

HCC is the most common type of liver cancer and often develops in people with existing liver diseases, chronic hepatitis B and C or high alcohol consumption.

Sorafenib is marketed by Germany's Bayer AG as Nexavar and is the standard of care for HCC.

In the trial, 501 patients with unresectable HCC and who had not received any cancer therapy were given either the Tecentriq-Avastin combination or sorafenib over 21-day cycles.

No new safety signals were identified beyond the established safety profiles for the individual drugs, the company added.

More details on the trial results will be presented by Genentech at an upcoming medical meeting.

Tecentriq, also known as atezolizumab, in combination with Avastin, or bevacizumab, already received breakthrough therapy designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating HCC that has grown outside the organ or has spread to another part of the body.

The drug combination, along with chemotherapy, is also approved in the U.S. to treat non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, and does not have an abnormal EGFR or ALK gene.