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Combination Cancer Therapy May Increase Coronary Risk

A modest increase in arterial blood clotting has been associated with metastatic cancer treatments that combine chemotherapy with bevacizumab

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Chemotherapy combined with the anticancer drug bevacizumab is associated with a higher risk of arterial thrombosis, but not blood clots of the veins, when compared with chemotherapy treatment alone, according to the results of a study published online Aug. 8 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Frank Scappaticci, M.D., Ph.D., of Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, Calif., and colleagues gathered data from five randomized controlled trials to analyze arterial or venous thromboembolic events in 1,745 patients with metastatic colorectal, breast, or non-small-cell lung carcinoma.

Researchers found combined treatment with bevacizumab and chemotherapy was associated with an increased risk for an arterial thromboembolic event (hazard ratio 2.0), but not for a venous thromboembolic event (HR, 0.89), compared with chemotherapy alone.

"Because these studies excluded patients who had any history of stroke or a myocardial infarction within 12 months of enrollment, the risks and benefits of bevacizumab treatment among such patients have not been established," the authors write. "Ongoing clinical trials should clarify these issues."

The authors of this study report that they hold stock in Genentech, the manufacturer of bevacizumab, or have received research support from the company.

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