The efficacy of the drug has been proven previously, he noted, but this study provides an in-depth analysis of Avastin's safety profile under "real life" conditions, he added.
"Too often this step is shortcircuited in the rush to market of a new drug and we have to await the laborious collection of after-market data to find the real dangers of many new drugs," Edelman said.
"So, the researchers and sponsors are to be congratulated for doing this study. They find that there are real deleterious side effects but that they are manageable, and conclude the drug is worth using under the proper circumstances," he said.
Avastin is in the spotlight Tuesday for another reason, as well. U.S. regulators could rescind approval of the drug for the treatment of breast cancer, based on follow-up studies reported Friday that failed to show the medication shrank tumors or extended lives, according to published reports.
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday will ask a panel of outside experts to review the evidence on the Roche drug, the Associated Press said. It's possible the FDA will withdraw approval of Avastin as a breast cancer treatment.
The drug is also approved for lung, colon, brain and kidney cancer.
For more information on lung cancer, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
SOURCES: Lucio Crino, M.D., director, medical oncology, S. Maria della Misericordia Hospital, Perugia, Italy; Robert Pirker, M.D., department of medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Austria; Norman H. Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer at the American Lung Association, and professor, Preventive Medicine, Internal Me
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