More than 100 Roche abstracts have been accepted for the biggest cancer congress in Europe, the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), which opens in Stockholm on Friday (12th September).

The Roche abstracts include the latest data on Avastin (bevacizumab), Herceptin (trastuzumab), Tarceva (erlotinib), Xeloda (capecitabine) and the new breast cancer drug, pertuzumab, which is currently in phase III trials. Roche's pipeline drug IGF-1R, which is in early development, will also feature.

Key presentations includes final results of the AVAiL study, which confirm the use of Avastin as first line treatment for the most common form of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It will also have data on the use of oral chemotherapy drug Xeloda to treat advanced stomach cancer. The presentation will also have the analysis of the GBG26 study, a phase-III trial conducted by the German Breast Group on continuation of Herceptin treatment after the cancer progresses (advanced breast cancer). Phase-II data on the use of Avastin in treating glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer will also be presented.

AVAiL reported results previously that showed a significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) when Avastin was added to chemotherapy. The earlier US-based study, E4599, demonstrated a significant improvement in overall survival (OS) when Avastin was added to chemotherapy. The final analysis of the AVAiL study including an update on the primary endpoint of PFS and OS analysed as a secondary endpoint will be presented in the presidential session at ESMO on September 15th.

Two studies with oral Xeloda will confirm that it is superior to intravenous 5-FU in treating advanced stomach cancer, with patients living longer and with an improved quality of life.

Analysis of the GBG26 study, a phase III trial conducted by the German Breast Group, shows that continuation of Herceptin treatment can benefit women who need additional treatment after their cancer progressed during initial Herceptin treatment. Data presented at ESMO add to the existing evidence that Herceptin extends survival throughout all stages of HER2-positive breast cancer and offers great hope to women with this aggressive disease.

The Avastin Phase II study of patients with recurrent, treatment-resistant glioblastoma show improvements in progression free survival and overall survival. The findings are significant as patients with this aggressive form of brain cancer have a very poor prognosis.

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