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Roche's Avastin misses key data point in brain cancer study

A logo of Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche is pictured in front of a company's building in Rotkreuz, April 12, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Buhol
A logo of Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche is pictured in front of a company's building in Rotkreuz, April 12, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Buhol

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche's cancer drug Avastin failed to make a statistically significant difference to survival rates of patients with a common form of brain cancer in a late-stage study, the company said on Saturday.

The Phase III AVAglio study presented at the Society for Neuro-Oncology congress in Washington on Saturday showed Avastin, combined with radiation and chemotherapy, reduced the risk of cancer worsening or death, the Basel-based drugmaker said in a news release.

But the drug did not reach statistical significance in overall survival, a key data point. Further data are expected next year, Roche said.

"The interim results for overall survival (OS), the other co-primary endpoint, did not reach statistical significance," the company said in the statement.

Earlier data from the study published in August showed Avastin significantly extended progression-free survival of people with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Avastin is Roche's third-biggest seller and is approved to treat several types of cancer, including breast, kidney, colorectal and ovarian cancers.

(Reporting by Katharina Bart and Caroline Copley; editing by Jason Webb)

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