Skip navigation

Currently Being Moderated

The FDA has started a number of hearings concerning Avastin, a  popular breast cancer medication. The drug has helped some people, but  the Food and Drug Administration asserts that studies prove too few  benefits to justify approving the drug for use as a breast cancer remedy  given the risks of use. Source for this article - FDA mulls future of breast cancer drug Avastin by


Dangers of drugs are too good


Avastin, Genentech's cancer drug, is going to start going through  proceedings with the FDA. Roche AG, which is a Swiss pharmaceutical  business, is the parent business of Genentech. Food and Drug  Administration approval was revoked in Dec. of 2010 for use of the  narcotic in treating advanced cases of breast cancer, as reported by  Fox. The proceedings, as reported by CBS, are being picketed by numerous  different groups, including women whose lives were saved by the drug or  are being treated for breast cancer with Avastin and seeing optimistic  outcomes. However, the FDA has asserted that its approval was revoked  because studies indicate the drug only delays progression of breast  cancer for a few months and does not decrease the death rate, as  reported by the Washington Post. High blood pressure, blood clots,  intestinal perforation, kidney damage and heart attacks can all be  brought on by Avastin.


How it helps other cancer


Angiogenesis is inhibited by Avastin, or bevacizumab. Tumors won't  grow blood vessels with it, as reported by Wikipedia. Colon, kidney,  lung and brain cancer have all used the narcotic as treatment also.  There were studies done recently to see how Avastin worked with ovarian  cancer, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. It showed that both new  patients and recurring cancer sufferers had ovarian cancer inhibited  with Avastin treatment. There was a four month delay in recurring  ovarian cancer from Avastin shown in a trial. Another study, as reported  by the LA Times, found women newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer had a  slightly lower death rate overall when taking Avastin, and those at the  greatest risk for recurrence had a 36 percent reduction in fatalities  from ovarian cancer when taking Avastin. However, the long-term impact  on death rates remains to be seen. Ovarian cancer has an overall  survival rate of about 47 percent, as reported by Wikipedia.


Why the testimony is questioned


Possible financial ties to Genentech and parent business Roche AG are  being called into question regarding testimony on behalf of the drug,  according to the San Francisco Chronicle. No one who speaks at the FDA  hearings on behalf of the narcotic will have to disclose whether she has  any financial incentive to promote the narcotic at the FDA hearings.  Over $6 billion in Roche sales was represented in 2010 by Avastin. About  $88,000 is needed for a full course treatment. The drug had an approval  in 2008 that was very controversial contemplating it was on the FDA  fast-track program which means it was able to get to the industry faster  than normal with proof that it works, although the advantages may not  outnumber the risks. Studies that considered the FDA's decision to pull  approval showed that the narcotic merely delayed tumor growth by a few  months at best, and did not decrease the death rate overall.



Articles cited






Washington Post


Wall Street Journal


Los Angeles Times


Wikipedia on Avastin/Beviacizumab


Wikipedia on Ovarian Cancer


San Francisco Chronicle

Comments (0)