What is Bevacizumab?

Bevacizumab (Avastin) is a chemotherapy (also referred to as a biotherapy) medication used to treat persistent/recurrent/metastatic cervical cancer, metastatic colorectal cancer, non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer, ovarian/fallopian tube cancer, metastatic renal cell carcinoma and glioblastoma. It can be used to treat other forms of cancer; however, it is only FDA-approved to treat the indications listed above. Bevacizumab is recombinant, humanized monoclonal antibody that helps diminish the growth of tumor cells by reducing the blood supply.

How it is administered:

Bevacizumab is infused intravenously over 90 minutes initially. It is typically a well-tolerated drug during infusions, with a low incidence of reactions. Thus, most infusions are over 30 minutes after the first several doses. Prior to infusion of bevacizumab, it is very important to note any recent surgeries or dental procedures, as bleeding can be an issue with this medication.

What to expect:

Bevacizumab can cause anemia and reduce the body’s ability to fight infections. Additionally, elevated blood pressure is a very common side effect of this medication. High blood pressure medications may be added to help regulate this problem. Additionally, poor wound healing and bleeding have been seen in patients on this medication. Perforations in the gastrointestinal tract, nausea, vomiting and anorexia are other side effects of bevacizumab.