FDA approves bevacizumab (Avastin) for glioblastoma multiforme


The FDA announced the approval of Avastin (bevacizumab) for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme.

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most frequent and most aggressive type of primary brain tumor.

This is an excerpt from the FDA’s prescribing  information:

Avastin is indicated for the treatment of glioblastoma with progressive disease following prior therapy as a single agent.

The effectiveness of Avastin in glioblastoma is based on an improvement in objective response rate.  There are no data demonstrating an improvement in disease-related symptoms or increased survival with Avastin

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Mechanism of action

Bevacizumab is a monoclonal antibody that acts as a VEGF ( Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) inhibitor, this produces an inhibition of the process of angiogenesis.


Source: Nature Reviews

This video explains in a very simple way the role VEGF plays in angiogenesis.


Other approved indications for the use of bevacizumab in oncology


Metastatic colon carcinoma (Approved in June 2006)

A first-line treatment of patients with locally advanced, metastatic or recurrent non-small cell lung cancer in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy (October  2006)

Metastatic HER2 negative breast cancer:  in combination with paclitaxel for the treatment of patients who have not received chemotherapy (February 2008).

What FDA says about Avastin (bevacizumab) adverse effects:

The most serious side effects associated with Avastin, in some cases resulting in death, are gastrointestinal perforation, wound healing complications, hemorrhage, and blood clots. Other serious side effects of Avastin are severe high blood pressure, nervous system and vision disturbances, decreased white blood cell counts, infection, stroke, myocardial infarction, and kidney problems.

The most common adverse reactions were nose bleeds, headache, high blood pressure, runny nose, excess proteins in the urine, taste alteration, dry skin, rectal bleeding, excessive tearing, and skin peeling.

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