When government approval for the drug AvastinTM (bevacizumab) was revoked for the treatment of advanced breast cancer last November, there were protests from women who had received it and were convinced the drug helped lessen their disease or even kept them alive. Now two studies, one from the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) in Pittsburgh and the other from the University of Frankfurt, Germany, have demonstrated that this drug may have a role to play in the treatment of early-stage breast cancer.
Avastin in these studies was used before surgery in women whose disease had not spread. In both studies, the women who received it had lower rates of cancer once surgery was performed. The side effects of this drug can be serious, and additional studies are continuing to see if these results hold up. Tissue samples from these studies are also being examined to determine if women whose tumors contain particular genetic characteristics may respond more successfully to the drug.
For additional information about these studies, click here.