Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Popular cancer drugs increase risk of death, study finds

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has revealed that the popular cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab) raises patients' risk of death by up to 350 percent when combined with chemotherapy. Designed to stop the production of new blood vessels in the body, and thus the spread of cancer cells, Avastin is also responsible for causing blood clots in legs and lungs when used as directed.

Vishal Ranpura and doctors from Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York analyzed a series of 16 previously published randomized controlled trials involving more than 10,000 patients with tumors to see how Avastin was related to fatal adverse events (FAE). Depending on the combination of treatments, Avastin was linked with a significantly higher risk of FAEs, especially when combined with other conventional cancer treatments.

"Compared with chemotherapy alone, the addition of bevacizumab was associated with a 1.5 times increased risk of FAEs," states the study. "Bevacizumab was associated with a 3.5 times increased risk of FAEs in patients receiving taxanes or platinum agents (two specific forms of chemotherapy)." Read more...

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