A recent mesothelioma study found the addition of bevacizumab to the chemotherapy treatment of pemetrexed plus cisplatin may increase the survival rate in patients. From 2008 to 2014, patients were given the standard treatment in 21-day increments for six cycles, with some receiving bevacizumab.
The addition of bevacizumab increased survival to a median of 19.8 months. In comparison, the group without had a median of 16.1 months. Manageable side effects were also recorded in 71 percent of the bevacizumab patients compared to 62 percent who didn’t receive it.
Prior to its use in this trial, bevacizumab is a proven drug used in several cancer treatments. Commonly sold under Avastin, it’s an angiogenesis inhibitor, meaning it slows the growth of new blood vessels. First approved by the FDA in 2004, its initial use was in combination with chemotherapy for metastatic colon cancer. Now it’s approved for other metastatic cancers, including lung, ovarian and cervical.
Two years later, in 2006, a pivotal study with lung cancer patients led to the FDA to approve it for first-line treatment with carboplatin/paclitaxel. Generally, bevacizumab is used with platinum-based chemotherapy. Carboplatin-based chemotherapy, used in lung cancer treatments, receives larger doses of bevacizumab and cisplatin-based, used in the mesothelioma study, uses lower doses.
- Cancer Treatment, “Bevacizumab,” National Cancer Institute (Nov. 19, 2014). [Link]
- Cho, “Addition of bevacizumab improves overall survival in mesothelioma,” Cancer Therapy Advisor (Dec. 22, 2015). [Link]
- Wikipedia, “Bevacizumab.” [Link]