January 6th, 2011
Bevacizumab in Breast Cancer Linked to Increase in Heart Failure Risk
Larry Husten, PHD
A meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests that bevacizumab (Avastin) significantly raises the risk for heart failure when given to patients with breast cancer. Toni Choueiri and colleagues analyzed data from 3,784 patients and found a significant increase in the incidence of heart failure among those taking bevacizumab compared with those taking placebo (1.6% versus 0.4%).
In an accompanying editorial, Nitin Verma and Sandra Swain write that “the results of this meta-analysis should be interpreted with extreme caution.” They point out the limitations of a meta-analysis with retrospectively collected HF data and strongly urge that “randomized prospective trials to determine the magnitude of the potential risk, time of onset, and reversibility of heart failure with bevacizumab” be performed.
The FDA dd the right thing to revoke this indication. This should not be politicized by the anti-Obama folks. I am not a huge President Obama supporter, but this was the ethical thing to do and took guts by the FDA.
We first covered this back in 2007 in the WSJ http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2007/12/11/avastin-for-breast-cancer-the-pre-history/