The FDA approved a new use for Avastin (bevacizumab) to treat patients with persistent, recurrent or late-stage (metastatic) cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer grows in the tissues of the lower part of the uterus known as the cervix. It commonly occurs when human papilloma viruses (HPV), a virus that spreads through sexual contact, causes cells to become cancerous.
Avastin works by interfering with the blood vessels that fuel the development of cancerous cells. The new indication for cervical cancer is approved for use in combination with chemotherapy drugs paclitaxel and cisplatin or in combination with paclitaxel and topotecan.
The FDA reviewed Avastin for treatment of patients with cervical cancer under its priority review program because the drug demonstrated the potential to be a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness over available therapy in the treatment of a serious condition. Priority review provides an expedited review of a drug’s application.
The safety and effectiveness of Avastin for treatment of patients with cervical cancer was evaluated in a clinical study involving 452 participants with persistent, recurrent, or late-stage disease. Participants were randomly assigned to receive paclitaxel and cisplatin with or without Avastin or paclitaxel and topotecan with or without Avastin. Results showed an increase in overall survival to 16.8 months in participants who received chemotherapy in combination with Avastin as compared to 12.9 months for those receiving chemotherapy alone.
The most common side effects associated with use of Avastin in patients with cervical cancer include fatigue, decreased appetite, high blood pressure (hypertension), increased glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia), decreased magnesium in the blood (hypomagnesemia), urinary tract infection, headache and decreased weight. Perforations of the gastrointestinal tract and abnormal openings between the gastrointestinal tract and vagina (enterovaginal fistula) also were observed in Avastin-treated patients.
Avastin is marketed by South San Francisco, California-based Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.