Bevacizumab (brand name Avastin) is commonly used with chemotherapy to treat certain types of lung cancer. It is in a class of medications called antiangiogenic agents that work by stopping the formation of blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to tumors, eventually slowing their growth and spread.

It comes as a solution that is administered into a vein, usually once every 14 days. The first dose usually takes 90 minutes and it will be closely monitored to check for body reactions. If there are no serious problems regarding this first administration, the remaining doses will take 30 to 60 minutes each.

Common bevacizumab side effects include fainting, loss of appetite, heartburn, change in ability to taste food, diarrhea, weight loss, dry mouth, sores on the skin and mouth, and voice changes.

Bevacizumab may lead to the development of a hole in the wall of the stomach or intestine, which can be life-threatening. It may also slow the healing of wounds, or cause a wound that has already closed to split open. It may cause severe bleeding that can be life-threatening. All these effects should be discussed with the doctor before starting a treatment.

Bevacizumab research in PF

Due to lung sensitivity, pneumonitis and pulmonary fibrosis usually happen following cancer therapy. Researchers consider that bevacizumab may help reduce the expression of proteins related to pulmonary permeability, controlling acute pulmonary fibrosis. A study (NCT01917877) is currently ongoing in China to assess the effects of bevacizumab in the management of pulmonary fibrosis induced by radiation and chemotherapy. Participants will receive either bevacizumab (7 mg/kg) on the first day and on the 21st day, followed by dexamethasone or dexamethasone alone. A thoracic CT scan and blood biomarkers will be assessed before treatment, and 24 hours, seven days, four weeks, and eight weeks after bevacizumab. Primary objectives will be lung function measures and a thoracic CT scan as secondary objectives. The study’s estimated completion date is May 2017.

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