Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cervical Cancer Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Avastin: Mixed Results Against Different Cancers

Drug improved survival by 4 months with cervical cancer, but no such benefit seen with brain tumors

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Clinical trials investigating new uses for the anti-cancer drug Avastin have produced mixed results.

When combined with standard chemotherapy, Avastin extended the survival of patients with advanced cervical cancer by nearly four months, doctors reported in one trial.

However, two other trials found the drug proved of little use in treating newly diagnosed glioblastoma brain tumors.

All three studies appear in the Feb. 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Avastin (bevacizumab) slows or halts cancer progression by preventing the creation of new blood vessels that provide the tumor with nutrients and oxygen.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Avastin's use in combination with standard chemotherapy in treating some forms of colon, lung, kidney, ovarian and breast cancer. It also has been approved to treat recurring glioblastoma.

Cancer doctors hailed the drug's success in extending the lives of women with recurring or persistent cervical cancer.

"We've been trying to find a way to improve survival in cervical cancer for a very long time," said Dr. Don Dizon, an oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a gynecologic cancer expert for the American Society of Clinical Oncology. "We haven't been able to make much progress. We've tried many different drugs and nothing has been successful." He was not involved with the current study.

Avastin extended survival by 3.7 months for these patients, the researchers reported. The U.S. National Cancer Institute funded the trial.

While four months does not seem like a long time, study co-author Dr. Lois Ramondetta said this amount of added lifespan could provide a crucial window for trying other treatments that could cure or slow the cancer.

"We have a new backbone for adding additional drugs to, to produce even longer survival," said Ramondetta, a professor at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and chief of gynecologic oncology at Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital, in Houston.

But there are drawbacks. Avastin is very expensive, with two 16-milliliter vials of the drug currently priced at more than $5,400.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

cancer cell
HPV is the top cause. Find out more.
doctor and patient
Get to know the Symptoms.
 
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
 
Integrative Medicine Cancer Quiz
QUIZ
Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
Screening Tests for Women
Slideshow
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK