Colorectal Cancer: Avastin Safety Profile


The Avastin® (bevacizumab) side effect and toxicity profile in metastatic colorectal cancer (MCRC) was evaluated in first-line Study 2107, second-line Avastin-naive Study E3200, and the TML study*. [1]

*TML=Treatment through Multiple Lines (first and second line).

Boxed WARNINGS

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) perforation
    • Serious and sometimes fatal GI perforation occurs at a higher incidence (up to 3.2%) in Avastin-treated patients compared to controls. Discontinue Avastin for 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 
    • Discontinue in patients with wound dehiscence. Discontinue at least 28 days prior to elective surgery. 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
    • Do not initiate Avastin for at least 28 days after surgery and until the surgical wound is fully healed
  • Hemorrhage
    • Severe or fatal hemorrhage, hemoptysis, GI bleeding, CNS hemorrhage, epistaxis, and vaginal bleeding are increased in Avastin-treated patients. Do not administer Avastin to patients with serious hemorrhage or recent hemoptysis

Consistent safety profile demonstrated in 3 large Phase III trials

Safety evaluated in nearly 5,000 patients receiving Avastin in clinical trials[1]

First-line Study 2107: Avastin plus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)/leucovorin (LV)/irinotecan (IFL) [1]

Grade 3–4 adverse events in MCRC patients (≥2% higher incidence in the Avastin arm)[1]

National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria (NCI-CTC) grade 3–4 events

% of Patients

Avastin + IFL (n=392)

Placebo + IFL (n=396)

Asthenia

10

7

Abdominal pain

8

5

Pain

8

5

Hypertension

12

2

Deep vein thrombosis

9

5

Intra-abdominal thrombosis

3

1

Syncope

3

1

Diarrhea

34

25

Constipation

4

2

Leukopenia

37

31

Neutropenia

21

14

Central laboratories were collected on days 1 and 21 of each cycle. Neutrophil counts were available in 303 patients receiving placebo plus IFL and 276 patients receiving Avastin plus IFL. [1]

Second-line Avastin-naive Study E3200: Avastin plus 5-FU/LV/oxaliplatin (FOLFOX4) [1]

Grade 3-5 adverse events (≥2% high incidence in the Avastin arm) [1]

NCI-CTC grade 3–5 (nonhematologic) and grade 4–5 (hematologic) events

% of Patients

Avastin + FOLFOX4 (n=287)

FOLFOX4 alone (n=285)

Diarrhea

18

13

Nausea

12

5

Vomiting

11

4

Dehydration

10

5

Ileus

4

1

Neuropathy–sensory

17

9

Neurologic–other

5

3

Fatigue

19

13

Abdominal pain

8

5

Headache

3

0

Hypertension

9

2

Hemorrhage

5

1

These data are likely to underestimate the true adverse event rates due to the report mechanisms used in this study. [1]

The TML study*: Avastin plus fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy [1]§

No new safety signals were observed in the TML study (ML18147) when Avastin was administered in second-line MCRC patients who progressed on an Avastin containing regimen in first-line MCRC. The safety data was consistent with the known safety profile established in first- and second-line MCRC.[1] 

*TML=Treatment through Multiple Lines (first and second line).
§Chemotherapy combinations included either an irinotecan- or oxaliplatin-containing regimen.
[1] 

Indications

Metastatic colorectal cancer (MCRC)
Avastin is indicated for the first- or second-line treatment of patients with metastatic carcinoma of the colon or rectum in combination with intravenous 5-fluorouracil–based chemotherapy.

Avastin, in combination with fluoropyrimidine-irinotecan- or fluoropyrimidine-oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy, is indicated for the second-line treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who have progressed on a first-line Avastin-containing regimen.

Limitation of Use: Avastin is not indicated for adjuvant treatment of colon cancer.

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
    • 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 first-line MCRC, the most common grade 3–4 events in Study 2107, which occurred at a ≥2% higher incidence in the Avastin plus IFL vs IFL groups, were asthenia (10% vs 7%), abdominal pain (8% vs 5%), pain (8% vs 5%), hypertension (12% vs 2%), deep vein thrombosis (9% vs 5%), intra-abdominal thrombosis (3% vs 1%), syncope (3% vs 1%), diarrhea (34% vs 25%), constipation (4% vs 2%), leukopenia (37% vs 31%), and neutropenia (21% vs 14%)
  • In second-line MCRC, the most common grade 3–5 (nonhematologic) and 4–5 (hematologic) events in Study E3200, which occurred at a higher incidence (≥2%) in the Avastin plus FOLFOX4 vs FOLFOX4 groups, were diarrhea (18% vs 13%), nausea (12% vs 5%), vomiting (11% vs 4%), dehydration (10% vs 5%), ileus (4% vs 1%), neuropathy–sensory (17% vs 9%), neurologic–other (5% vs 3%), fatigue (19% vs 13%), abdominal pain (8% vs 5%), headache (3% vs 0%), hypertension (9% vs 2%), and hemorrhage (5% vs 1%). These data are likely to underestimate the true adverse event rates due to the reporting mechanisms used in this study
  • When continued beyond first progression in MCRC, no new safety signals were observed in the TML study (ML18147) when Avastin was administered in second-line MCRC patients who progressed on an Avastin containing regimen in first-line MCRC. The safety data was consistent with the known safety profile established in first- and second-line MCRC

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.