Friday, December 17, 2010

Avastin and Breast Cancer - Guest Blog by Dr. Andres Forero

Andres Forero-Torres, M.D.
Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that the drug Avastin not be used to treat breast cancer. This is causing quite a bit of discussion in the cancer community and media, as this ruling affects thousands of breast cancer patients. 

The FDA says clinical trials have shown that Avastin does not prolong survival for patients with metastatic breast cancer. However, other studies have shown that the combination of Avastin and Taxol does improve disease-free survival.  The FDA recommendation also does not apply to clinical trials of Avastin used in combination with hormonal treatments or for clinical trials for the prevention of breast cancer. However, the European Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) is keeping the approval of Avastin in combination with Taxol for metastatic breast cancer.

Patients taking Avastin should continue taking the drug and talk with their physician. Patients enrolled in clinical trials using Avastin, including those here at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, should continue taking the drug until advised differently by study managers.

Andres Forero-Torres, M.D., is a hematologist-oncologist and senior scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. He specializes in the research and treatment of breast cancer and lymphomas.

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