March 1st 2005
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a crucial role inthe growth and metastatic spread of cancer. Bevacizumab (Avastin) isthe first commercially available VEGF inhibitor, earning US Food andDrug Administration (FDA) approval in February 2004. In combinationwith fluorouracil (5-FU)-based chemotherapy, this agent significantlyprolongs overall and progression-free survival of patients withmetastatic colorectal cancer. This review details the emerging role ofthe drug, its unique side effects, and other practical considerations relatedto bevacizumab therapy. Ongoing trials attempting to define additionalindications for bevacizumab as well as the development ofother promising angiogenesis inhibitors are also reviewed.