Background: Bevacizumab, a monoclonal antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor, has been shown to benefit patients with a variety of cancers.
Methods: Between July 2001 and April 2004, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) conducted a randomized study in which 878 patients with recurrent or advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (stage IIIB or IV) were assigned to chemotherapy with paclitaxel and carboplatin alone (444) or paclitaxel and carboplatin plus bevacizumab (434). Chemotherapy was administered every 3 weeks for six cycles, and bevacizumab was administered every 3 weeks until disease progression was evident or toxic effects were intolerable. Patients with squamous-cell tumors, brain metastases, clinically significant hemoptysis, or inadequate organ function or performance status (ECOG performance status, >1) were excluded. The primary end point was overall survival.
Results: The median survival was 12.3 months in the group assigned to chemotherapy plus bevacizumab, as compared with 10.3 months in the chemotherapy-alone group (hazard ratio for death, 0.79; P=0.003). The median progression-free survival in the two groups was 6.2 and 4.5 months, respectively (hazard ratio for disease progression, 0.66; P<0.001), with corresponding response rates of 35% and 15% (P<0.001). Rates of clinically significant bleeding were 4.4% and 0.7%, respectively (P<0.001). There were 15 treatment-related deaths in the chemotherapy-plus-bevacizumab group, including 5 from pulmonary hemorrhage.
Conclusions: The addition of bevacizumab to paclitaxel plus carboplatin in the treatment of selected patients with non-small-cell lung cancer has a significant survival benefit with the risk of increased treatment-related deaths. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00021060.)
2006 Massachusetts Medical Society