FDA rejects Avastin for breast cancer treatment

An FDA advisory panel voted yesterday not to recommend Avastin as a treatment for breast cancer. The panel, which saw on a closely-split 5-4 vote, decided that Avastin's toxic side effects outweighed the drug's ability to delay cancer worsening, particularly given that the drug didn't raise women's overall lifespan. The panel decision isn't binding--the FDA makes the final decision on approvals--but it usually follows the advice of advisory committees.

Avastin is already a very successful drug which is widely used worldwide to treat colon and lung cancer, generating $1.7 billion in revenue for the first nine months of 2007 alone. However, the advisory committee decision is still a big setback for drugmaker Genentech, which had hoped to add $1 billion annually in Avastin sales if the drug was approved for breast cancer treatment.

To learn more about the decision:
- read this piece from The New York Times

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