Avastin Uses for Colorectal CancerColorectal cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells originate in the tissue of the colon or rectum. Cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer, and cancer that begins in the rectum is called rectal cancer; colorectal cancer is another name for these forms of cancer.
Avastin is given along with chemotherapy in order to help chemotherapy work better. It is approved for use with chemotherapy regimens that contain 5-fluorouracil (5-FU, Adrucil®) to treat colon or rectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (known as metastatic cancer). It is approved for first-line or second-line treatment, which means it can be part of the first regimen that is tried, or it can be used after another regimen has failed.
Avastin Uses for Brain CancerAvastin is approved for treating glioblastoma (a type of brain cancer) in individuals with progression (worsening) of cancer after other treatments. It is approved to be used by itself for this particular use.
Avastin Uses for Kidney CancerAvastin is approved for renal cell carcinoma. In particular, it is approved for treating renal cell carcinoma that has spread to other areas of the body (metastatic cancer) and only in combination with another medication known as interferon alpha.
How Does Avastin Work?Avastin is part of a group of medications known as monoclonal antibodies. It is an antibody that is designed to bind to and inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF is a naturally occurring protein that encourages the growth of new blood vessels (including blood vessels that feed cancers). By binding to VEGF, Avastin prevents this protein from encouraging new blood vessel growth, essentially "starving" the cancer of its blood supply.
Because Avastin does not directly kill cells, it is not considered a chemotherapy medication and does not cause many of the usual chemotherapy side effects. However, it is approved only to be used in combination with chemotherapy.