What Is Bevacizumab Used For?
Bevacizumab is used for the treatment of colorectal cancer as well as non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer. By binding to and inhibiting a particular protein that encourages the growth of new blood vessels, the drug essentially "starves" the cancer of its blood supply. It is not approved for use in children. Off-label bevacizumab uses include the treatment of other types of cancer, such as brain cancer.
What Is Bevacizumab Used For? -- An OverviewBevacizumab (Avastin®) is a prescription drug that is part of a group of medications known as monoclonal antibodies. It is approved for use in the treatment of the following cancers:
- Non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Glioblastoma brain cancer
- Renal cell carcinoma (a type of kidney cancer).
In late 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that bevacizumab's breast cancer approval be removed. Studies have not shown the drug to increase survival in people with breast cancer, and there is not sufficient benefit to outweigh the risks.
This action does not affect bevacizumab's approval for other uses. Healthcare providers may still use bevacizumab to treat breast cancer, although they will be doing so in an "off-label" fashion.
Why Is Bevacizumab Used for Lung Cancer?
There are two general types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancers can be further divided into those that begin in squamous cells (squamous cell carcinomas) and those that begin elsewhere (non-squamous carcinomas).
Bevacizumab is approved to be used in combination with chemotherapy to treat non-squamous, non small cell lung cancer that cannot be surgically removed and that has begun to spread to nearby tissues (locally advanced), has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized), or that has recurred (come back after it appeared to have gone away). It is approved for use in combination with carboplatin (Paraplatin®) and paclitaxel (Onxol™, Taxol®, Abraxane®) and is considered to be a first-line treatment (which means it can be the first treatment to be tried).