Preliminary results from a large, randomized clinical trial of patients with previously untreated advanced non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) show that those who received bevacizumab (Avastin™, Genentech), combined with standard chemotherapy (paclitaxel plus carboplatin), lived longer than patients who received the same chemotherapy without bevacizumab. A humanized monoclonal antibody, beva-cizumab binds to and inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a protein that is essential for tumor angio-genesis.
The difference in survival times was statistically significant. Patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung were not included in the study because previous clinical experience suggested that patients with this type of NSCLC had a higher risk of serious pulmonary bleeding after bevacizumab therapy. Patients with a history of hemoptysis (coughing up blood) were also excluded.