Cervical Cancer: Avastin Dosing and Usage

The overall survival (OS) results seen in the GOG 240 study in persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer (CC) were achieved with Avastin® (bevacizumab) plus chemotherapy given at the approved dose until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. [1] 

Avastin dosing in persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer

In persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer, Avastin is administered as a solution for intravenous (IV) infusion at the following dose and schedule [1]:
 

Tumor type

Chemotherapy

Avastin dose

Avastin schedule

CC*

Cisplatin/paclitaxel

15 mg/kg IV

Every 3 weeks

Topotecan/paclitaxel

15 mg/kg IV

Every 3 weeks

*15 mg/kg IV dose evaluated in CC in combination with either cisplatin/paclitaxel or topotecan/paclitaxel.

  • 15 mg/kg solution for IV infusion every 3 weeks is the only dose of Avastin demonstrated to significantly increase OS in women with CC [1]

Important treatment considerations—Women of childbearing potential

  • Avastin increases the risk of ovarian failure and may impair fertility. Inform females of reproductive potential of the risk of ovarian failure prior to starting treatment with Avastin
  • Long-term effects of Avastin exposure on fertility are unknown
  • Counsel patients about the possible risks, including hazard to the fetus and/or loss of pregnancy, of both continued treatment and prolonged exposure following discontinuation, keeping in mind the approximate half-life of Avastin (20 days; range 11–50 days). Patients should also be counseled to continue adequate contraception for 6 months following the last dose of Avastin 
  • Nursing mothers should be advised to discontinue nursing or Avastin, taking into account the half-life of the product and the importance of Avastin to the mother

Duration of Avastin in persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer

Avastin Prescribing Information includes duration of Avastin treatment

FDA-approved Prescribing Information for the duration of Avastin treatment[1]

"Patients should continue treatment until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity."

Important treatment considerations—Dose modifications

  • There are no recommended dose reductions 
  • Discontinue Avastin in patients with 
    • Gastrointestinal (GI) perforations (GI perforations, fistula formation in the GI tract, intra-abdominal abscess) 
    • Fistula formation involving an internal organ 
    • Wound dehiscence and wound healing complications requiring medical intervention
    • Serious hemorrhage (ie, requiring medical intervention)
    • Severe arterial thromboembolic event (ATE)
    • Life-threatening (grade 4) venous thromboembolic events, including pulmonary embolism
    • Hypertensive crisis or hypertensive encephalopathy 
    • Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES)
    • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Temporarily suspend Avastin for: at least 4 weeks prior to elective surgery, severe hypertension not controlled with medical management, moderate to severe proteinuria, and severe infusion reactions 
  • The safety of resumption of Avastin therapy in patients that experienced PRES or ATE is unknown

Inclusion of bevacizumab in National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) recommendations

National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommendations:

Bevacizumab is included as part of first-line treatment options for treating recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer [46]

Category 1
  • Cisplatin/paclitaxel + bevacizumab
  • Topotecan/paclitaxel + bevacizumab

Indications

Persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer (CC)
Avastin in combination with paclitaxel and cisplatin or paclitaxel and topotecan is indicated for the treatment of persistent, recurrent, or metastatic carcinoma of the cervix.

Boxed WARNINGS

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) perforation
    • Serious and sometimes fatal GI perforation occurs at a higher incidence in Avastin-treated patients compared to controls
    • The incidences of GI perforation ranged from 0.3% to 3.2% across clinical studies
    • Discontinue Avastin in patients with GI perforation
  • Surgery and wound healing complications
    • The incidence of wound healing and surgical complications, including serious and fatal complications, is increased in Avastin-treated patients
    • Do not initiate Avastin for at least 28 days after surgery and until the surgical wound is fully healed. The appropriate interval between termination of Avastin and subsequent elective surgery required to reduce the risks of impaired wound healing/wound dehiscence has not been determined
    • Discontinue Avastin at least 28 days prior to elective surgery and in patients with wound healing complications requiring medical intervention
  • Hemorrhage
    • Severe or fatal hemorrhage, including hemoptysis, GI bleeding, hematemesis, central nervous system hemorrhage, epistaxis, and vaginal bleeding, occurred up to 5-fold more frequently in patients receiving Avastin. Across indications, the incidence of grade ≥3 hemorrhagic events among patients receiving Avastin ranged from 0.4% to 6.9% 
    • Do not administer Avastin to patients with serious hemorrhage or recent hemoptysis (≥1/2 tsp of red blood) 
    • Discontinue Avastin in patients with serious hemorrhage (ie, requiring medical intervention)

Additional serious adverse events

  • Additional serious and sometimes fatal adverse events with increased incidence in the Avastin-treated arm vs control included
    • GI fistulae (up to 2% in metastatic colorectal cancer and ovarian cancer patients)
    • Non-GI fistulae (<1% in trials across various indications; 1.8% in a cervical cancer trial) 
    • Arterial thromboembolic events (grade ≥3, 2.6%)
    • Proteinuria (nephrotic syndrome, <1%)
  • Additional serious adverse events with increased incidence in the Avastin-treated arm vs control included 
    • GI-vaginal fistulae occurred in 8.3% of patients in a cervical cancer trial
    • Venous thromboembolism (grade 3–4, up to 10.6%) in patients with persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer treated with Avastin
    • Hypertension (grade 3–4, 5%–18%)
    • Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) (<0.5%)
  • Infusion reactions with the first dose of Avastin were uncommon (<3%), and severe reactions occurred in 0.2% of patients
  • Inform females of reproductive potential of the risk of ovarian failure prior to starting treatment with Avastin

Pregnancy warning

  • Based on the mechanism of action and animal studies, Avastin may cause fetal harm
  • Advise female patients that Avastin may cause fetal harm, and to inform their healthcare provider of a known or suspected pregnancy 
  • Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with Avastin and for 6 months after the last dose of Avastin
  • Advise nursing women that breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with Avastin
  • Avastin may impair fertility

Most common adverse events

  • Across indications, the most common adverse reactions observed in Avastin patients at a rate >10% and at least twice the control arm rate were

— Epistaxis
— Headache
— Hypertension
— Rhinitis

— Proteinuria
— Taste alteration
— Dry skin
— Rectal hemorrhage

— Lacrimation disorder
— Back pain
— Exfoliative dermatitis

  • Across all studies, Avastin was discontinued in 8.4% to 21% of patients because of adverse reactions

Indication-specific adverse events

  • In CC, grade 3 or 4 adverse reactions in Study GOG 240, occurring at a higher incidence (≥2%) in 218 patients receiving chemotherapy plus Avastin compared to 222 patients receiving chemotherapy alone, were abdominal pain (11.9% vs 9.9%), diarrhea (5.5% vs 2.7%), anal fistula (3.7% vs 0%), proctalgia (2.8% vs 0%), urinary tract infection (8.3% vs 6.3%), cellulitis (3.2% vs 0.5%), fatigue (14.2% vs 9.9%), hypertension (11.5% vs 0.5%), thrombosis (8.3% vs 2.7%), hypokalemia (7.3% vs 4.5%), hyponatremia (3.7% vs 1.4%), dehydration (4.1% vs 0.5%), neutropenia (7.8% vs 4.1%), lymphopenia (6.0% vs 3.2%), back pain (5.5% vs 3.2%), and pelvic pain (5.5% vs 1.4%). There were no grade 5 adverse reactions occurring at a higher incidence (≥2%) in patients receiving chemotherapy plus Avastin compared to patients receiving chemotherapy alone

You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
You may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNINGS, for additional important safety information.