FDA slams use of Avastin for breast cancer

While Avastin has won a large patient base for use in treating colon and lung cancer, it's looking like maker Genentech won't be able to extend that success to breast cancer. A new report from the FDA suggests that not only did Avastin fail to increase the lifespan of women with cancer, it also caused meaningful side effects.

The agency meets tomorrow discuss whether it should approve Avastin for treatment of breast cancer. Despite the negative comments, it hasn't yet said whether it will approve Avastin. Meanwhile, staff members did note that Avastin does seem to delay the period of time before cancer worsens. Now, an FDA advisory panel will debate whether that benefit outweighs the risks imposed by the drug.

Regardless, despite its extremely high price tag, Avastin seems to be here to stay for treating other cancers. It generated $1.7 billion in revenues for Genentech for the first nine months of this year alone.

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

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