Cancer drug Avastin has major setback

KEZI

EUGENE | Jul 21, 2010

EUGENE

There’s been a major setback for blockbuster cancer drug Avastin.  A panel of experts says it should no longer be recommended for women with advanced breast cancer.  Avastin aimed to starve tumors by choking off their blood supply.  When it was approved in 2008, it seemed to be working.  Giving women with advanced breast cancers an extra five months before their disease worsened.  But the new studies reveal it wasn’t so.

Diana Zuckerman from the National Research Center for Women said, “It is not saving lives, and in fact women taking this drug seem to die a little sooner than women taking other drugs.”

Avastin will still be used for other cancers. Even if the FDA pulls the plug on it for breast cancer, doctors could offer the drug off-label.  But the price-tag, 50-to 90,000 dollars a year, is one few women could afford.