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The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted accelerated approval to Avastin® (bevacizumab) used in combination with Taxol® (paclitaxel) for the treatment of advanced breast cancer.

Advanced (metastatic) breast cancer refers to cancer that has spread to distant sites in the body. Chemotherapy is a cornerstone of therapy for metastatic breast cancer; however, novel therapeutic approaches are now providing more targeted methods of treatment. Because breast cancer cannot be cured in the majority of patients, a major goal of therapy is to keep the cancer from progressing while maintaining quality of life.

Avastin is a targeted therapy that blocks a protein known as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. Avastin is already approved for the treatment of some colorectal and lung cancers.

The accelerated approval of Avastin is based on results from clinical trials indicating that Avastin in combination with chemotherapy improves progression-free survival among women with metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer. The FDA is requiring further results from ongoing trials to confirm these findings.

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Women with metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of treatment with Avastin.

Reference: Genentech. FDA Grants Accelerated Approval of Avastin in Combination With Paclitaxel Chemotherapy for First-Line Treatment of Advanced HER2-Negative Breast Cancer. Available at: . Accessed February 2008.

Related News:Addition of Avastin® to Chemotherapy Improves Progression-free Survival in Advanced Breast Cancer (2/14/2008)

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