(Note: Many patients in Malaysia have been treated with this very expensive drug)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently revoked approval of Avastin for treating breast cancer. The reversal was in response to clinical trials showing that the drug’s benefit was short-lived, with breast cancer patients quickly relapsing and the cancer becoming more invasive and metastatic.
Cancer treatments designed to block the growth of blood vessels were found to increase the number of cancer stem cells in breast tumors in mice, suggesting a possible explanation for why these drugs don’t lead to longer survival, according to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
While anti-angiogenic drugs do shrink tumors and slow the time until the cancer progresses, the effect does not last, and the cancer eventually regrows and spreads.
The researchers treated mice with breast cancer using the anti-angiogenesis drugs Avastin (bevacizumab) and Sutent (sunitinib). The researchers found that tumors treated with these drugs developed more cancer stem cells, which fuel a cancer’s growth and spread and are often resistant to standard treatment.