Study identifies lung cancer markers for Avastin use

Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have identified a possible biomarker that could help determine whether or not patients will respond to lung cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab). Additionally, the study provides more information about optimal dosing levels of the costly drug.

The researchers divided 300 late-stage lung cancer patients into two groups; one group received Avastin in 7.5 mg/kg doses, while the rest of the patients got 15 mg/kg. Additionally, the group examined 7 biomarkers associated with lung cancer. They found that patients with low levels of the biomarker VEGFA were the most likely to benefit from treatment with Avastin. "VEGFA could serve as a potential biomarker for the identification of suitable patients who may benefit from receiving bevacizumab, and help doctors to tailor treatment regimens after identifying the suitable biomarkers," explained Professor Tony Mok, a member of the university's Department of Clinical Oncology.

The study also determined that patients had similar outcomes whether they were in the low dose treatment group or the high dose treatment group, a finding that could save tens of thousands of dollars per patient. "At present, the bevacizumab treatment is very expensive to common patients and a treatment cycle every three weeks at 7.5 mg/kg costs about HK$15,000-20,000, and dosages at 15 mg/kg cost around double that," added Mok. The findings were presented at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress.

- read the China Daily report