ANCHOR LEAD: A VERY EFFECTIVE AGENT AGAINST COLON CANCER MAY CAUSE BLOOD CLOTS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Avastin is a drug that helps prevent the formation of new blood vessels. Since most cancers as well as other disease processes rely on this capability, interrupting it helps slow tumor growth in some types of cancer. But now Avastin has been shown to increase the likelihood of dangerous blood clots, or thromboembolism, in some people. Patrick Okolo, a colon cancer expert, explains.
OKOLO: There is at least a three fold risk or about a 33% increase in the overall risk of venous thromboembolism among patients using Avastin. This is particularly important because when you look at some of the older studies there’s an increased background risk just from having adenocarcinoma. And so it appears that on top of that risk the use of Avastin is also associated with incremental risk and that incremental risk appears to be highest in patients with colorectal carcinoma. :29
Okolo says further study is needed before use of medications to avoid blood clot formation is indicated. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.