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Bevacizumab: the evidence for its clinical potential in the treatment of nonsmall cell lung cancer

Authors Haslam S, Chrisp P

Published 15 March 2007 Volume 2007:2(1)


Sonya Haslam, Paul Chrisp

Core Medical Publishing, Knutsford, UK

Introduction: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality. Platinum-based chemotherapy is the usual first-line treatment for advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC), although an efficacy plateau has been reached with this approach. Bevacizumab is a recombinant, humanized, monoclonal antibody to vascular endothelial growth factor, which inhibits tumor angiogenesis and is being evaluated as a different mechanism to improve outcomes in patients with stage IIIB/stage IV (metastatic) NSCLC.

Aims: To review the emerging evidence for the potential use of bevacizumab in stage IIIB/IV NSCLC.

Evidence review: Adding bevacizumab to carboplatin plus paclitaxel improves response rates and significantly prolongs time to disease progression, which translates into a significant extension of overall survival (median 2.3 months in one key study). Low levels of intracellular adhesion molecule-1 are associated with better response. Preliminary evidence suggests that combining bevacizumab with erlotinib could improve outcomes in patients relapsing following platinum-based chemotherapy. Episodes of bleeding (particularly pulmonary hemorrhage) are the predominant adverse events associated with bevacizumab, probably a result of tumor disintegration. There is limited evidence that the high acquisition cost of bevacizumab unfavorably affects assessment of its cost effectiveness, although there are few other treatment options in these patients with poor prognosis.

Place in therapy: The encouraging results obtained with bevacizumab in patients with NSCLC are leading to its adoption in some treatment guidelines. Emerging evidence indicates improved outcomes when bevacizumab is added to carboplatin/paclitaxel in previously untreated patients with NSCLC, and when used with erlotinib in patients who have relapsed following platinum-based chemotherapy.

Key words: bevacizumab, evidence, nonsmall cell lung cancer

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