European regulators have issued a green light for the use of Roche’s Avastin (bevacizumab) in platinum-resistant recurrent ovarian cancer, offering women with the disease the first new treatment option in 15 years.

The European Commission has green-lighted Avastin, in combination with paclitaxel, topotecan, or pegylated liposomal doxorubicin chemotherapy, to give patients with this notoriously difficult-to-treat condition the chance of living for longer.

The decision came on the back of Phase III data showing that the addition of Avastin to chemotherapy almost doubled progression free survival from 3.4 months to 6.7 months.

Around 10,000 women a year in the European Union will have platinum-resistant cancer, and Avastin is the first biologic approved for this indication.

The drug, which works by starving tumours of their blood supply by blocking the formation of blood vessels, is also cleared in Europe as a front-line treatment for advanced ovarian cancer and for recurrent, platinum-sensitive forms of the disease, as well as for advanced breast cancer, colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, kidney cancer and ovarian cancer.