Bevacizumab toxicities and their management in ovarian cancer

Gynecol Oncol. 2010 Jun;117(3):497-504. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2010.02.021. Epub 2010 Apr 2.


Objectives: The purpose of this review is to discuss the side effect profile of bevacizumab, to discuss proposed mechanisms of these toxicities, and to provide suggestions for management of adverse events.

Methods: A search of MEDLINE and ASCO and SGO abstract databases of articles published between January 1970 and August 2009 addressing the toxicity of bevacizumab in solid tumors was conducted. Reporting was limited to best available evidence including any available phase III studies and ovarian cancer phase II studies. Original publications addressing underlying mechanisms of bevacizumab toxicities were included.

Results: Extensive experience with bevacizumab has proven the agent to be generally well tolerated, with an adverse event profile distinct from traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy and likely peculiar to its novel mechanism of action. The most common bevacizumab-attributable adverse event, hypertension, can be medically-managed, but more serious adverse events such as bowel perforation require drug discontinuation.

Conclusions: Current best evidence supports the use of bevacizumab in selected patients, and safe administration of bevacizumab requires an understanding of the management of adverse events attributable to its use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Bevacizumab
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / chemically induced
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Intestinal Perforation / chemically induced
  • Intestinal Perforation / therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Bevacizumab