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Cancer Drug Shows Increased Risk of Death When Used In Combination With Other Therapies

Posted Feb 02 2011 6:08pm

Cancer patients treated with the chemotherapy agent bevacizumab (Avastin) may be at an increased risk of treatment-related death when the drug is used in combination with other therapies. This conclusion is based on a study of more than 10,000 patients by Shenhong Wu, M.D., Ph.D., Principal Investigator, and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and colleagues. Their findings are reported in the February 2 issue of JAMA.

The study, “Treatment-Related Mortality With Bevacizumab in Cancer Patients,” is a review and meta-analysis of 16 published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the clinical use of the widely used bevacizumab. The drug, which blocks a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor, thus inhibiting the production of new blood vessels around tumors, has been shown to have some increased adverse effects in previous studies.

In this study, Dr. Wu and Stony Brook colleagues and co-authors Vishal Ranpura, M.D., and Sanjaykumar Hapani, M.D., completed a meta-analysis of adverse effects and mortality rates of 10, 217 patients with a variety of tumors, including colorectal, breast, and lung cancers.

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