Bevacizumab and gastrointestinal perforations: a review from the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) database

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2021 Nov;54(10):1290-1297. doi: 10.1111/apt.16601. Epub 2021 Sep 9.


Background: Bevacizumab is used in the treatment of advanced malignancies and has a "black box" warning for gastrointestinal perforations. Despite this known side effect, there are no large descriptive series of patients who experience bevacizumab-induced gastrointestinal perforations.

Aim: To review and describe post-market cases of bevacizumab-induced gastrointestinal perforation reported by healthcare professionals to the United States Food and Drug Association Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) database.

Methods: In total, 74 025 cases of bevacizumab-induced adverse drug reaction were reported to FAERS from January 1 2004 to July 6 2021. We identified 2874 cases of bevacizumab-induced gastrointestinal perforation. A total of 1375 cases were determined to contain complete patient demographic data after the removal of duplicates and were reviewed. Subgroup analysis was completed on gastro-oesophageal perforations given the lack of prior data.

Results: The average patient age was 61.9 ± 11.4 years. A total of 698 cases included descriptive locations of perforations with most occurring in the large intestine (385 cases, 55.2% of specifically described cases). Colorectal cancer was the most common indication for bevacizumab (691 cases, 50.3%) followed by ovarian cancer (197 cases, 14.3%) and non-small cell lung cancer (182 cases, 13.2%). Death was reported in 554 patients (40.3% of cases). Sixty-two cases of gastro-oesophageal perforation were identified.

Conclusions: This is the largest collective descriptive study of bevacizumab-induced gastrointestinal perforations, and sheds light on this often fatal complication. We additionally identified and described a rare subgroup of patients experiencing bevacizumab-induced gastro-oesophageal perforation not previously described.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Aged
  • Bevacizumab / adverse effects
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms*
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Bevacizumab