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Hypertension Clue to Better Outcomes with Avastin

Patients who developed hypertension with Avastin® (bevacizumab) had better response to treatment for colorectal cancer.  More had tumors shrink, and it took significantly longer for their cancer to get worse.

In a small Italian study, researchers measured blood pressure in 39 patients receiving Avastin along with irinotecan and 5-FU for the initial treatment of colorectal cancer.  Eight patients (20 percent) experienced grade 2 or 3 hypertension.

  • Of those eight patients, six had tumors shrink or a partial response.  On the other hand, only 10 of the 31 patients (32 percent) without an increase in blood pressure had partial responses to treatment.
  • Median time before cancer got worse was 14.5 months for patients with hypertension compared to 3.1 months for those who didn’t have high blood pressure.
  • Those without hypertension lived a median of 15.1 months, but median survival time hasn’t yet been reached for patients who responded to Avastin with an increase in blood pressure.

Grade 2 or moderate hypertension is defined as systolic pressure from 150 to 179 mm/Hg.  Severe grade 3 is blood pressure over 180.

Dr. Mario Scartozzi and his colleagues in Ancona, Italy concluded,

Our data indicate that bevacizumab-induced hypertension may represent an interesting prognostic factor for clinical outcome in advanced colorectal cancer patients receiving first-line bevacizumab.

SOURCE: Scartozzi et al. Annals of Oncology, Advance Access: October 7, 2008.

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