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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Bevacizumab (Avastin®)


Brand Name: Avastin®

Bevacizumab is used to treat colorectal, breast, kidney, and non-small cell lung cancers, as well as some brain tumors.

Bevacizumab is a monoclonal antibody, which belongs to the type of cancer drugs known as biologics or targeted therapy. Once inside the body, bevacizumab becomes attached to a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Both normal and malignant cells use VEGF to grow blood vessels. Bevacizumab blocks tumors from forming blood vessels, thereby preventing nutrients from reaching cancer cells, which may slow or stop their growth.

This medication is given as an injection into a vein. The first infusion of the drug takes about 90 minutes, with subsequent infusions usually taking less time. The frequency of administration depends on the disease being treated. For example, bevacizumab is usually given once every 14 days for colorectal cancer, and once every 3 weeks for lung cancer.

Bevacizumab side effects

To prevent problematic interactions between bevacizumab and other drugs, be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, and what other medications and supplements you are currently taking. You should also inform your doctor if you have or ever had a liver tumor, liver disease, or kidney disease, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. Bevacizumab should not be taken during breastfeeding.

Possible side effects of bevacizumab may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bleeding gums
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Sores on the skin or in the mouth
  • Voice changes
  • Changes in ability to taste food

Some of bevacizumab’s side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Nosebleeds that cause dizziness or fainting or that do not stop in 10–15 minutes
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Black or bloody stools
  • Vomit that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds
  • Coughing, gagging, or choking after eating or drinking
  • Severe vaginal bleeding
  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Slow or difficult speech
  • Weakness or numbness in arms or legs
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Sore throat, fever, chills, or other signs of infection
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Swelling of face, eyes, stomach, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
  • Foamy urine
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Pain, tenderness, warmth, redness, or swelling in one leg only
  • Redness, itching, or scaly skin
  • Blurry vision

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Patients may experience additional effects not mentioned above.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), your team of cancer experts will explain each of the side effects of bevacizumab with you in detail, as well as the side effects and expectations of all other medications planned as part of your individualized treatment plan.

Bevacizumab for cancer treatment

Bevacizumab is approved by the FDA for the following cancer treatments:

  • In combination with chemotherapy for the initial or second-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer
  • In combination with chemotherapy for the initial treatment of non-small cell lung cancer that is locally advanced, recurrent, or metastatic, and cannot be surgically removed
  • As a single agent for adult patients with glioblastoma that has worsened following a different initial therapy
  • In combination with interferon alfa for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma

At CTCA, our integrative approach to cancer treatment works to fight your disease on all fronts and ensures that you remain at the center of everything we do. We encourage participation from both you and your family to make certain you are comfortable with all decisions made regarding your treatment.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Cancer Treatment Centers of America assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. Also note that while Cancer Treatment Centers of America frequently updates its contents, medical information changes rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.