November 20, 2008
Blood Clots in Cancer Patients
A drug meant to inhibit tumor growth may have a dangerous side effect.
Bevacizumab (Avastin) is prescribed to patients with colorectal cancer, non"“small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), renal cell cancer and breast cancer to inhibit angiogenesis -- the growth of new blood vessels, which plays a crucial role in the growth and metastasis of cancer. However, results of a new study shows bevacizumab caused a significant increase in venous thromboembolism -- blood clots in the deep veins of the legs or in the lungs -- one of the leading causes of illness and death in patients with cancer.
"The increased risk is observed not only for all-grade venous thromboembolism, but also for clinically significant high-grade venous thromboembolism," study authors wrote. "This finding will help physicians and patients to recognize the risk of venous thromboembolism with the administration of bevacizumab."
SOURCE: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2008;300:2277-2285
On the Net: