Avastin Side Effects Linked to Increased Risk of Death: Study
According to new research, Avastin may increase the risk of death in some cancer patients when compared to the use of chemotherapy alone.
A study conducted by U.S. researchers was published this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), finding that that risk of death from Avastin is 2.5% when used with chemotherapy, compared to a 1.7% death rate among patients treated with chemotherapy alone.
The research is the latest blow to Genentech’s cancer drug, which recently lost its approval for treatment of breast cancer after the FDA determined that the potential risk of Avastin side effects outweigh the drug’s limited benefits for breast cancer.
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Researchers conducted an analysis of more than 10,000 patients being treated for tumors, with 5,589 of the patients being treated with Avastin and chemotherapy. Out of the group that was treated with Avastin, 148 died compared to only 72 patients out of the 4,628 treated with chemotherapy alone. Researchers said that the most common causes of death in patients receiving Avastin was hemorrhaging (23.5%), neutropenia (12.2%) and gastrointestinal tract perforation (7.1%).
Genentech officials say that this most recent study included cancers for which Avastin is not approved. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, several doctors have indicated that the increased death rate will have little effect on Avastin’s use in colon and lung cancer patients, because it has been shown to increase their lifespan.
Avastin (bevacizumab) was approved by the FDA in 2004 for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer when combined with chemotherapy. It was developed by Genentech, which was later acquired by Roche. The drug works by restricting blood flow to tumors; starving them. Avastin sales reached nearly $6 billion in 2009.
Avastin received approval to treat breast cancer in February 2008, but had that approval taken away in December after the FDA determined it was not helping breast cancer patients and exposing them to potential Avastin health risks, which may include severe high blood pressure, heart attacks, heart failure, bleeding and hemorrhaging and the development of perforations in the nose, stomach and intestines.
VickyMarch 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm
My husband had stage 4 lung cancer which was being treated with chemo and radiation. His lung tumor was wiped out but his adrenal glands were diseased and had to be removed. He was then told he was cancer free and put on avastin for maintenance. The doctor ordered a colonascopy and he had a bowel perforation shortly after that. I have always wondered if the avastin caused it and the inability to h[Show More]My husband had stage 4 lung cancer which was being treated with chemo and radiation. His lung tumor was wiped out but his adrenal glands were diseased and had to be removed. He was then told he was cancer free and put on avastin for maintenance. The doctor ordered a colonascopy and he had a bowel perforation shortly after that. I have always wondered if the avastin caused it and the inability to heal after surgery to repair it. Doctors are not willing to discuss this and tell me he was terminal anyway.
DebraNovember 19, 2011 at 9:39 pm
I wish we had of known this when they gave my husband Avastin in 2004. The last day he was alive he was coughing up so much bloody mucous that I had to use towels because I didn't have anything else. I am sure he hemorrahaged to death.
JohnApril 7, 2011 at 9:23 pm
Immediatly after my last injection of Avastan my eye became severely sore and inflamed. My eye pressure went from 16 to 38 within 30 days and in another 30 days I had lost 90% of vision in that eye. It is now totally gone. Could this be a bad batch?
CarolynMarch 26, 2011 at 12:55 am
Question: Is there any indication that intraviteal eye injections of Avastin for the treatment of Macular Dengeneration causes cancer either of the eye or in any other area of the body???
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