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Drug Increases Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Survival

Bevacizumab treatment also does not affect frequency of postsurgical complications

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, treatment with bevacizumab can increase overall survival in patients whose disease progresses and does not affect the frequency of postsurgical complications, according to two studies published online Oct. 14 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In the first study, Axel Grothey, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues examined factors associated with survival in 1,445 previously untreated patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who experienced disease progression after bevacizumab treatment. Of these, 253 received no further treatment, 531 received further non-bevacizumab treatment, and 642 received further bevacizumab treatment. They found that in the overall trial of 1,953 patients, median overall survival was 25.1 months. Median overall survival was 12.6 months with no further treatment, 19.9 months after non-bevacizumab treatment, and 31.8 months after further bevacizumab treatment, the report indicates.

In the second study, Susan B. Kesmodel, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston retrospectively examined the prevalence of postoperative complications in 125 patients who had undergone surgery for colorectal cancer liver metastases, of whom 81 had been treated with chemotherapy and bevacizumab and 44 had been treated with chemotherapy alone. They found that similar percentages of patients in the combination group and chemotherapy-alone group developed complications (49 and 43 percent, respectively). Bevacizumab was discontinued a median of 58 days before surgery, with no significant association between the use and timing of discontinuation and postoperative complications, the researchers report.

"These data suggest that the combination of bevacizumab with neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients who have colorectal liver metastases does not increase surgical complications," Kesmodel and colleagues conclude.

The first study was supported by Genentech. Several authors of both studies report a financial relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract - Grothey
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Abstract - Kesmodel
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