FDA Approves Avastin for Advanced Cervical Cancer

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new use for the targeted therapy drug, Avastin (bevacizumab). The new use is for cervical cancer that has not improved with treatment, has come back after treatment, or has spread to other parts of the body. It’s to be taken along with chemotherapy drugs. Avastin works by interfering with blood vessels that help cancer grow. It is already used to treat certain types of colon, kidney, lung, and brain cancer.

Avastin is the first drug approved for people with late-stage cervical cancer since 2006. The FDA approved it under its priority review program that can speed up the approval process for drugs that show promise for treating a serious disease.

In a clinical trial of 452 women with advanced cervical cancer, those who received Avastin along with their chemotherapy increased their survival by about 3 months over those treated with chemotherapy alone.

Avastin is given as an infusion into the vein. The most common side effects include fatigue, decreased appetite, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and urinary tract infection. Serious side effects, which are less common, include perforations in the gastrointestinal tract and abnormal openings between the gastrointestinal tract and vagina.

Avastin is manufactured by Genentech.

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