FDA Approves New Use of Avastin Plus Fluoropyrimidine-Based Chemotherapy in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
January 23rd, 2013
People who start on Avastin for mCRC can now stay on Avastin after their cancer worsens.
On January 23, 2013, the FDA has approved a new use of Avastin® (bevacizumab) in combination with fluoropyrimidine-based irinotecan or oxaliplatin chemotherapy for people with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). The new indication will allow people who received Avastin plus an irinotecan or oxaliplatin containing chemotherapy as an initial treatment (first-line) for mCRC to conti
News in brief
- People now have the option to continue with Avastin plus a new chemotherapy after their cancer worsens, which may help them live longer than changing to the new chemotherapy alone.
- This is the third approval for Avastin in mCRC based on improved overall survival in a pivotal study.
Additional Important Safety Information
Possible serious side effects
Everyone reacts differently to Avastin therapy. So, it’s important to know what the
side effects are. Although some people may have a life-threatening side
effect, most do not. Your doctor will stop treatment if any serious side effects
occur. Be sure to contact your health care team if there are any signs of
these side effects.
- GI perforation. A hole that develops in your stomach or intestine.
Symptoms include pain in your abdomen, nausea, vomiting, constipation,
- Abnormal passage in the body. This type of passage—known as a fistula—is an irregular connection from one part of the body to another and
can sometimes be fatal
- Wounds that don’t heal. A cut made during surgery can be slow to heal
or may not fully heal. Avastin should not be used for at least 28 days
before or after surgery and until surgical wounds are fully healed
- Serious bleeding. This includes vomiting or coughing up blood; bleeding
in the stomach, brain, or spinal cord; nosebleeds; and vaginal bleeding. If
you recently coughed up blood or had serious bleeding, be sure to tell
- Severe high blood pressure. Blood pressure that severely spikes or
shows signs of affecting the brain. Blood pressure should be monitored
every 2 to 3 weeks while on Avastin and after stopping treatment
- Kidney problems. These may be caused by too much protein in the urine
and can sometimes be fatal
- Infusion-related reactions. These were uncommon with the first dose
(less than 3% of patients). 0.4% of patients had severe reactions. Infusion-related reactions include high blood pressure or severe high blood pressure that may lead to stroke, trouble breathing, decreased oxygen in red blood cells, serious allergic reactions, chest pain, headache, tremors, and excessive sweating. Your doctor or nurse will monitor you for signs of infusion-related reactions
- Severe stroke or heart problems. These may include blood clots,
mini-stroke, heart attack, chest pain, and your heart may become too
weak to pump blood to other parts of your body (congestive heart failure).
These can sometimes be fatal
- Nervous system and vision problems. Signs include headache, seizure,
high blood pressure, sluggishness, confusion, and blindness
Side effects seen most often
In clinical studies across different types of cancer, some patients experienced the
following side effects:
- High blood pressure
- Too much protein in the urine
- Back pain
- Taste change
- Dry skin
- Inflammation of the skin
- Inflammation of the nose
- Watery eyes
Avastin is not for everyone
Talk to your doctor if you are:
- Undergoing surgery. Avastin should not be used for 28 days before or
after surgery and until surgical wounds are fully healed
- Pregnant or think you are pregnant. Data have shown that Avastin may
harm your unborn baby. Use birth control while on Avastin. If you stop
Avastin, you should keep using birth control for 6 months before trying to
- Planning to become pregnant. Taking Avastin could cause a woman’s
ovaries to stop working and may impair her ability to have children
- Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding while on Avastin may harm your baby,
therefore, women should not breastfeed during and for 6 months after
For more information about your treatment or condition, talk to your doctor.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or
www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects to Genentech at
Please see full Product Information, including Serious Side Effects, for additional important safety information.