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

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

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

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • 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

Colorectal Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Avastin Questions and Answers

Avastin (bevacizumab) belongs to a unique class of cancer drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors.

Q: What are angiogenesis inhibitors?

A: Cancers need blood in order to grow. To get enough blood, tumors tell the body to grow new blood vessels. Angiogenesis inhibitors block this process.

Q: How does Avastin work?

A: Avastin is a monoclonal antibody, a synthetic version of antibodies that occur in our bodies and which fight foreign substances. Avastin binds to a molecule called vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF. VEGF is a key player in the growth of new blood vessels. Avastin turns VEGF off.

Q: Does a person taking Avastin still need chemotherapy?

A: Avastin doesn't work all by itself. Chemotherapy is still needed. But Avastin makes chemotherapy work better.

Q: What kinds of cancer can Avastin help?

A: Avastin is approved for the treatment of cancer of the colon or rectum that has spread to other parts of the body. It must be given along with chemotherapy that includes a drug called 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or capecitabine (Xeloda). Other types of cancers that Avastin helps includes certain types of lung cancer, kidney cancer, cervical cancer, and glioblastoma (a type of brain tumor). Clinical trials are underway to see if Avastin helps in other cancers.

Avastin, which had been used to treat breast cancer, is no longer approved by the FDA for this purpose, because the risks of the drug outweigh the benefits.

Q: Does Avastin cure colon cancer?

A: No. But Avastin significantly extends survival time. In clinical trials, patients treated with Avastin plus chemotherapy like 5-FU, leucovorin, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan survived about five months longer than patients treated with the chemotherapy alone.

Q: What are the side effects of Avastin?

A: Avastin has several serious side effects, although not all patients experience them. These side effects include:

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on August 30, 2014

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
The right diagnosis is the most important factor.
man with a doctor
Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
bladder cancer x-ray
Do you know the warning signs?
Colon vs Rectal Cancer
New Colorectal Treatments
can lack of sleep affect your immune system
Cancer Facts Quiz
Virtual Colonoscopy
Picture of the Colon
Vitamin D