BASEL, Switzerland, May 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Patients with breast or colorectal cancer, two of the world's most common cancers, can expect further treatment advances with Avastin(R) (bevacizumab) and Herceptin(R) (trastuzumab) following new data that is being presented at the 44th American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago at the end of May. Around 30,000 medical experts will attend the meeting which is the premier event for cancer therapy worldwide.

The Roche data will show that Avastin and Herceptin are continuing to offer further hope of improving survival in patients with cancers that are still devastating thousands of lives each year.

Breast cancer - Avastin: Late-breaking Phase III data from the AVADO study investigating Avastin in combination with docetaxel (docetaxel, also known as Taxotere, is one of the most commonly used chemotherapies for breast cancer) will highlight the encouraging efficacy and safety results in patients treated first-line for locally recurrent or metastatic HER-2 negative breast cancer. - Herceptin: New results using Herceptin-based therapy for patients with aggressive HER-2 positive breast cancer will also be unveiled. The GBG26 study data will focus on the importance of continued treatment with Herceptin in women with advanced metastatic breast cancer whose disease progressed on a Herceptin-based therapy. - Pertuzumab: Very promising phase II data will be presented on the investigational drug pertuzumab which will highlight the benefits that pertuzumab in combination with Herceptin could offer to patients with advanced breast cancer. Pertuzumab is the first of a new, innovative class of targeted agents known as HER dimerisation inhibitors that can inhibit cancer cell growth and ultimately lead to death of cancer cells Colorectal cancer - Avastin: The first presentation of data from Avastin-based therapy with or without cetuximab (a drug which attacks cancer differently to Avastin) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer will be shared. - Avastin: Impressive long-term overall survival data at two years, involving some 4,000 patients treated with Avastin first-line in combination with a variety of chemotherapy regimens will confirm the pivotal role that Avastin is now playing in patients with advanced colorectal cancer. The results of the studies are significant because over 50 percent of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer currently die of the disease and these data show that improvements in survival are achievable. (1)

Roche will present nearly 300 abstracts and posters at ASCO that demonstrate advances in other major cancers, as well as the data already described above in breast and colorectal. With one of the most comprehensive oncology research and development pipelines in the industry, Roche is striving to deliver even more treatment options in the fight against cancer. For example, Avastin's clinical trial program includes 40,000 patients worldwide.

Key sessions at which Roche data will be presented include: Breast cancer Avastin AVADO study. Miles D, et al, Sunday I June 2008, Abstract No. LBA1011, oral 8:30am - 8:45am, E presentation Hall D1 ASCO press briefing Saturday 31 May 2008, 9.00am, Press Centre Herceptin HER2-positive metastatic breast Tuesday 3 June 2008, cancer study. Minckwitz G Von, et 8:00am - 12:00pm, al, Abstract No. 1025, Poster No. 6. E450b pertuzumab Results of a phase II trial of Tuesday 3 June 2008, trastuzumab and pertuzumab in 8:00am - 12:00pm, patients with HER2-positive E450b metastatic breast cancer (MBC) who had progressed during trastuzumab therapy. Gelmon K et al, Abstract No. 1026, Poster No. 7. Colorectal cancer Avastin Initial Safety Report of National Saturday 31 May Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel 2008, 3:10 p.m. E Project (NSABP) C-08, a Randomized Hall D1 Phase III Study of Modified 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU)/Leucovorin and Oxaliplatin (mFOLFOX6) With or Without Bevacizumab in the Adjuvant Treatment of Patients With Stage II/III Colon Cancer Avastin Randomized phase III study of Saturday 31 May capecitabine, oxaliplatin, and 2008, 4.45pm - bevacizumab with or without 5.00pm, E Hall D1 cetuximab in advanced colorectal cancer (ACC), the CAIRO2 study of the Dutch Colorectal Cancer Group (DCCG). Punt C, et al, Abstract No. LBA4011 Avastin Surgery with curative intent in Sunday 1 June 2008, patients treated with first-line 8:00am - 12:00pm, chemotherapy + bevacizumab for E450a metastatic colorectal cancer: First BEAT and NO16966 Cassidy J, et al, Abstract No. 4022, Poster No. 9 Avastin Final efficacy results for Sunday 1 June 2008, bevacizumab plus standard first-line 8:00am - 12:00pm, chemotherapies in patients with E450a metastatic colorectal cancer: First BEAT Berry S, et al, Abstract No. 4025, Poster No. 12. Avastin The safety of long-term bevacizumab Monday 2 June 2008, use: Results from the BRiTE 8.00am - 12.00pm, S observational cohort study (OCS). Hall A1 Purdie D, et al, Abstract No. 4103, Poster No. 14G Avastin Safety and effectiveness of Sunday 1 June 2008, bevacizumab (BV) and chemotherapy 8.00am - 12.00pm, (CT) in elderly patients (pts) with E450a metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC): Results from the BRiTE observational cohort study. Kozloff M, et al, Abstract N0. 4026, Poster No. 13

Full details of key Roche data presentations will be available on Friday 30th May at an invitation-only media event for non-US journalists. All abstracts are available at:

Editor's note - Breast Cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women, eight to nine percent of women will develop this cancer during their lifetime.(1) Each year more than one million new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed(2) with a death rate of over 500,000 people per year.(3) - Avastin doubles the chance of a patient living without their disease advancing (progression free survival). When used in combination with taxanes (chemotherapy), Avastin substantially increases the efficacy of treatment with limited impact on safety. Studies show that continual direct VEGF inhibition with Avastin maximizes the treatment benefit for the patient. - Herceptin is a humanised antibody specifically designed to target and block the function of HER2, which causes fast growing, aggressive breast cancer tumours. Herceptin delivers high cure rates for women with HER2 positive early breast cancer and extends survival across all stages of HER2 positive breast cancer by activating the immune system and suppressing HER2. Herceptin is considered the foundation of care in women with HER2-positive breast cancer and is recommended in treatment guidelines throughout the world. - Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in developed countries(4) and the second most common cause of death from cancer across all cancer types in men and women across Europe.(5) - Avastin acts by blocking VEGF, the key mediator of tumor angiogenesis, offering patients a better chance of significantly improved survival. Avastin is the first anti-angiogenic inhibitor to increase survival in first and second line treatment and to provide significant improvements in the time that patients can live without their disease advancing.

The 2008 ASCO Annual Meeting takes place from May 31 to June 3, McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Full details can be found at

If you or your media colleagues are interested in attending the Roche Media Event during ASCO on 30th May, where the data outlined in brief above will be presented, please contact Anne Cameron (see details below).

References: 1. Wilking N and Jonsson B. A Pan-European comparison regarding patient access to cancer drugs. Karolinska Institute in collaboration with Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden, 2005 2. World Health Organisation (WHO) 2003. 3. World Health Organisation, Projections of mortality and burden of disease to 2030: 4. Parkin DM. Estimating the world cancer burden: GLOBOCAN 2000. Int. J Cancer 2001; (94): 153-156 5. Boyle P, Ferlay J. Cancer incidence and mortality in Europe, 2004. Annals of Oncology 2005; 16:481-488

For further information please contact: Christine McMenamin, Roche, Tel: +41-61-688-2139, Mob: +41-79-618-7671; Anne Cameron, Galliard, Tel: +44-207-663-2256, Mob: +44-78-416-36-871.