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Sanofi-Aventis to use Taxotere in treating head and neck cancer in US

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Sanofi-Aventis’s cancer drug Taxotere to treat another form of the disease, the the world's third largest drug maker said Monday.

The drug can now be used to treat locally advanced head and neck cancer prior to chemoradiotherapy and surgery, Sanofi-Aventis said in a statement.

Advanced clinical trials showed that using Taxotere in combination with standard induction chemotherapy resulted in a more than three year improvement in patient survival rate, the company said.

Taxotere is now approved in Europe and the United States to treat five cancer types: breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, gastric cancer, and head and neck cancer.

More than 640,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with head and neck cancer each year, and more than 350,000 die from the disease annually, the company said.

Sanofi-Aventis' shares were down 0.1 percent at EUR59.33 (US$84.12) in Paris.