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AstraZeneca-Merck's Lynparza combo extends survival in ovarian cancer

AstraZeneca PLC and Merck & Co. Inc. said a late-stage study showed a Lynparza combination helped extend the lives of certain women with ovarian cancer while keeping their disease at bay.

The phase 3 trial, dubbed Paola-1, met its main goal — with Lynparza, or olaparib, when added to standard-of-care bevacizumab and used as an initial maintenance treatment, significantly improving progression-free survival, compared to bevacizumab alone, in ovarian cancer patients.

More specifically, the study evaluated women with advanced ovarian cancer, with or without mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

Progression-free survival is the length of time a patient lives without the disease worsening and is a measure of how well a therapy works.

Bevacizumab is sold by Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG as Avastin.

The safety and tolerability profiles observed in Paola-1 were generally consistent with those known for each medicine. Paola-1 is the second positive late-stage trial with Lynparza in first-line advanced ovarian cancer.

The results, including biomarker subgroup analyses, will be presented at a forthcoming medical meeting, Cambridge, U.K.-based AstraZeneca and Kenilworth, N.J.-based Merck & Co. said.

Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cause of death from cancer in women worldwide. In 2018, there were nearly 300,000 new cases diagnosed, with about 185,000 deaths.