New Study Shows Avastin Not Helpful for Triple-Negative Breast Cancers

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COMMENTARY | The BEATRICE trial shows that the drug Avastin does not help breast cancer patients with triple-negative breast cancers. MedPage Today reports that the BEATRICE study results were revealed at the 2012 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

BEATRICE

The BEATRICE study included 2,591 women with confirmed cases of early, invasive triple-negative breast cancers. Women were broken into four groups, some receiving chemotherapy treatments followed by Avastin and others receiving Avastin alone. Study subjects who suffered severe cardio events were removed from the study. The end results were that there was no clinically significant difference in disease-free survival rates between all groups and the control groups. Therefore, researchers concluded that Avastin is not the answer for treatment of early-stage triple-negative breast cancers.

The future of Avastin

The FDA requires Genentech, the manufacturers of Avastin, to submit study results proving its effectiveness. This is due to the fact that Avastin received fast-track approval. The bad news is that as far as breast cancer treatment goes, Avastin is a flop. It is time to turn our attention to drugs that actually work in treating breast cancers.

While a breast cancer diagnosis was a lot to deal with, I am glad that my diagnosis was not for triple-negative breast cancer. This is one of the hardest forms of breast cancer to treat because outside of radiation and chemo, there is nothing that directly impacts tumor growth.

The FDA was correct in removing Avastin's approval for use in breast cancer last year. BEATRICE and other studies continue to prove that this drug is not an effective treatment. Instead of wasting money trying to gain reapproval, Genentech should turn its attention toward producing a better drug. What breast cancer patients do not need is another drug with cardiotoxicity as a side effect, especially when the drug's effectiveness is highly questionable.

Lynda Altman was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2011. She writes a series for Yahoo! Shine called "My Battle With Breast Cancer."

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