Managing patients treated with bevacizumab combination therapy

Oncology. 2005;69 Suppl 3:25-33. doi: 10.1159/000088481. Epub 2005 Nov 21.


The anti-angiogenic agent bevacizumab (Avastin) has been rationally designed to target vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a key mediator of tumor angiogenesis. Based on its limited roles in adults, VEGF inhibition using bevacizumab would be expected to have limited side effects. Furthermore, because its mechanism of action is different to that of standard chemotherapeutic agents, bevacizumab would not be expected to cause typical cytotoxic agent-related toxicity or to exacerbate the toxicity of concomitant chemotherapy. We have reviewed clinical trials published to date, primarily in metastatic colorectal cancer, and describe the safety profile of bevacizumab. The review focuses on hypertension, proteinuria, arterial thrombosis, effects on wound healing, bleeding and gastrointestinal (GI) perforation, which are the principal bevacizumab-related events seen in clinical trials. These events are for the most part mild to moderate in severity and clinically manageable (hypertension, proteinuria, minor bleeding) or occur uncommonly (wound healing complications, GI perforations and arterial thrombosis). The side-effect profile of bevacizumab makes it a suitable adjunct to standard chemotherapy in settings where efficacy has been demonstrated, and it is now approved for use in the USA, the European Union and other markets worldwide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bevacizumab
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Fluorouracil / adverse effects
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / chemically induced
  • Incidence
  • Intestinal Perforation / chemically induced
  • Leucovorin / administration & dosage
  • Leucovorin / adverse effects
  • Proteinuria / chemically induced
  • Thrombosis / chemically induced
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Bevacizumab
  • Leucovorin
  • Fluorouracil