Navigation Links
Avastin May Be Helpful Before Breast Cancer Surgery
Date:1/25/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The addition of the cancer-fighting medication Avastin to chemotherapy prior to breast cancer surgery increases the chance that all of the cancer will be removed, according to new research.

However, when looking at which patients might benefit the most from this therapy, two recent studies found conflicting results, and neither study was yet able to address whether or not the addition of Avastin (bevacizumab) early in the treatment process would improve survival rates.

Information on survival will be especially important for defining Avastin's role in early breast cancer treatment. That's because in November 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked Avastin's approval for the treatment of breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. With metastatic breast cancers, the agency felt the survival benefits were lacking, and the drug carries significant risks. Avastin is, however, still FDA-approved as a treatment for some metastatic colon, brain, kidney and lung cancers.

"The bevacizumab story is not done. The addition of Avastin to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in women with operable breast cancer increased the rate of women having the disappearance of their breast cancer at the time of surgery," said Dr. Harry Bear, lead author of one of the new studies.

"With more follow-up of these trials and several others, we may find that bevacizumab actually does increase the cure rate. But, it may not be for all breast cancers; it may just be for some," said Bear, a professor and chairman of the division of surgical oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University's Massey Cancer Center in Richmond.

Results of the studies are published in the Jan. 26 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Bear's study included 1,206 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. None of the women had yet had surgery to remove their tumors. All of the women had tumors that were at least 2 centimeters (about 0.8 inches) in diameter, and none had metastatic cancer.

The women received chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy). They were randomly assigned to treatment groups that included the chemotherapy drugs docetaxel, capecitabine and gemcitabine in various doses and combinations. They were also randomly assigned to receive Avastin or not during their first six cycles of chemotherapy.

The study found that adding capecitabine or gemcitabine to docetaxel therapy didn't improve response rates. But the addition of Avastin increased the rate of "pathological complete response" -- meaning the tumor disappeared before surgery -- from 28.2 percent to 34.5 percent, according to the study.

However, the addition of Avastin also increased the risk of serious side effects, such as high blood pressure and heart problems.

The second study, conducted in Germany, included 1,948 women with an average tumor size of 4 centimeters (about 1.6 inches). As in Bear's study, the women were randomly assigned to several neoadjuvant chemotherapy groups. In this study, however, treatment was with docetaxel, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide. They were also randomly assigned to receive Avastin or not.

Overall, the odds of pathological complete response were increased by 29 percent with the addition of Avastin. However, when the researchers looked at tumors by hormone receptor status, they found that only women with triple-negative cancers had a significant response to Avastin. Having a triple-negative breast cancer means that a cancer's growth isn't influenced by hormones such as estrogen or progesterone. If a tumor is called hormone receptor-positive, it means that hormones, such as estrogen, can help fuel that cancer's growth.

In Bear's study, the investigators found Avastin had an effect on both hormone receptor-positive and hormone receptor-negative cancers, but there appeared to be slightly more benefit for the hormone receptor-positive women.

Bear said a number of factors could explain these seemingly conflicting findings. The differences may have something to do with the women involved in each study, he said. Some of the women in the German study had more advanced cancers. And, the chemotherapy regimens weren't the same, he explained.

Commenting on the findings, Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said that "these studies suggest that for certain patients, there may be a benefit to using Avastin prior to surgery for breast cancer."

However, Lichtenfeld added, "what we don't know from these studies is which women would benefit the most, and we don't have the long-term follow-up on these women to see if the survival or the course of the disease is improved."

Both Lichtenfeld and Bear acknowledged that because Avastin isn't FDA-approved for the treatment of breast cancers, insurance companies may be reluctant to pay for these treatments outside of a clinical trial setting.

"There still remain significant questions about the benefits of using Avastin in breast cancer," Lichtenfeld pointed out. "There is an increased risk of side effects, and there's a cost to adding this treatment. Based on these two studies, it's difficult to say whether any particular women should consider this treatment. As with many similar research findings, it's important to talk to your own doctor to get a better understanding of your potential risks and benefits," he added.

More information

To learn more about Avastin, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Harry D. Bear, M.D., professor and chair, division of surgical oncology, Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond; Len Lichtenfeld, M.D., deputy chief medical officer, American Cancer Society; Jan. 26, 2012, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Avastin, Sutent increase breast cancer stem cells, U-M study shows
2. Avastin May Help Some With Ovarian Cancer: Studies
3. Avastin Boosted Survival for Type of Aggressive Breast Cancer: Study
4. FDA Revokes Approval of Avastin for Breast Cancer
5. Clinical trial shows benefit to adding avastin to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer patients
6. Avastin Rejection Supported by Cancer Experts
7. FDA Panel Rejects Avastin for Breast Cancer
8. Cancer Drug Avastin Makes Inroads Against Ovarian Tumors
9. NIH study finds Avastin and Lucentis are equally effective in treating AMD
10. More Evidence Cancer Drug Avastin May Cause Harm
11. More Evidence Links Avastin to Heart Failure in Breast Cancer Patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Avastin May Be Helpful Before Breast Cancer Surgery
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Ongoing news of the ravages of ... (ALCA) to conduct a survey that takes a closer look at cases of TBI ... prevalence and causes of TBI among the aging population, and identifies the challenges associated ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... , ... Gout is like no other joint pain. It strikes suddenly, like ... swelling and redness. It is triggered by the crystallization of uric acid within the ... susceptible, according to the February 2016 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch. , The ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... ... AHRA: The Association for Medical Imaging Management announced today ... as keynote speaker at the organization’s 2016 Spring Conference. Fox’s topic, Lead with ... with their own organizational staff and leadership. , “I am so excited ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 10, 2016 , ... A national ergonomics pioneer , ... event March 9-11, 2016. Hosted by Ohio's Bureau of Worker's Compensation, the expo ... longest running and largest worker's compensation event in Ohio, organizers of the safety ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Middleboro, MA (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 ... ... of their revolutionary, biocompatible columns and accessories. These PEEK-lined stainless steel (PLS) columns ... to provide a solution that ensures the integrity of biological samples while operating ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... 10, 2016 Antibacterial Drugs Market - ... - 2023 ", reveals that the global antibacterial drugs market ... to 2023 owing to patent expiries of blockbuster drugs. Even ... during the forecast period, the value is anticipated to decline ... --> Antibacterial Drugs Market - Global Industry Analysis, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 10, 2016  Silicon Biosystems Menarini Inc., a ... help uncover the biological complexities of disease at ... developer of innovative technologies for genomics research, today ... at enabling translational researchers to obtain high-quality sequencing ... tumor and normal cells in an optimized and ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... PUNE, India , February 10, 2016 ... to a new market research report "Pharmaceutical Packaging Equipment ... Packaging, Wrapping, Labeling & Serialization), by Product Type (Tablet, ... to 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, studies the global market during ... is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.9% ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: