European regulators have expanded the scope of Roche's Avastin in the treatment of ovarian cancer, allowing certain patients access to the drug should the disease return.

The European Commission has given a green light to Avastin (bevacizumab), in combination with standard chemotherapy (carboplatin/gemcitabine), to treat women with first recurrence of platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer. 

Patents are considered to have platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer if their disease returns more than six months after platinum-based chemotherapy has been completed.

Avastin is already available as a first-line option (after surgery) for patients with advanced forms of the disease. 

This additional approval is "an important advance for women with recurrent ovarian cancer because very few treatment advances have been made in over a decade for patients with the disease,” noted Hal Barron, Roche’s Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development.

Ovarian cancer is the seventh leading cause of cancer death among women around the globe.