Avastin has been available in the United States and the European Union as a combination treatment with chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancer. For many women, Avastin has given them a longer life.
In Canada we’ve considered Avastin one of the “last hope” drugs as its significant cost has not been covered by BC Pharmacare or the BC Cancer Agency. While some of my ovarian cancer friends have managed to use Avastin as part of their treatment, they’ve had to pay for it themselves — up to $5,000 per treatment — and they need it every three weeks. Some friendly extended health plans have covered the cost, sometimes sharing the bill with Avastin’s manufacturer, Roche Canada. Now that Health Canada has approved the use of Avastin, the next step is to have the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review approve funding for the use of the drug.
Avastin (bevacizumab) is a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody that selectively binds to and neutralizes the biologic activity of human vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
An independent blood supply is critical for a tumour to grow beyond a certain size (2mm) and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Tumours develop their own blood supply in a process called angiogenesis by releasing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) — a key driver for tumour growth. Avastin is an antibody that precisely targets and inhibits VEGF.14
Avastin is also approved in both the United States and the European Union (EU) for recurrent platinum-resistant ovarian cancer and in the EU for recurrent platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer. It is also approved in Canada for metastatic colorectal cancer, locally advanced, metastatic or recurrent non-small cell lung cancer and malignant glioma (WHO grade IV) – glioblastoma (notice of compliance with conditions).15
This excerpt is from Roche Canada’s news release, issued this morning, “Biologic treatment option now available to Canadian women living with advanced ovarian cancer”
From Ovarian Cancer Canada:
Recently Health Canada approved the use of Bevacizumab (AVASTIN) in combination with paclitaxel, topotecan or pegylated liposomal doxorubicin for the treatment of patients with platinum-resistant recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer. We understand that the manufacturer of AVASTIN will now be applying to CADTH’s pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) to approve funding for the use of Bevacizumab (AVASTIN) in combination with paclitaxel, topotecan or pegylated liposomal doxorubicin for the treatment of patients with platinum-resistant recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer.
CADTH is an independent, not-for-profit organization responsible for providing Canada’s health care decision-makers with objective evidence to help make informed decisions about the optimal use of drugs and medical devices in our health care system.
The experience and opinions of people living with ovarian cancer and their caregivers are important considerations in the drug funding approval process. Ovarian Cancer Canada has prepared a survey to gather information from those affected by ovarian cancer and their caregivers so that your experiences can be included in pCODR’s decision-making process.
Those eligible to fill out the survey are those (and their caregivers) who have:
1) been diagnosed with epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer and who have been treated with chemotherapy; OR
2) had a recurrence of ovarian cancer and have been treated with additional chemotherapy; OR
3) have taken AVASTIN as a treatment for their recurrent ovarian cancer.
1) for individuals living with ovarian cancer – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/avastin2015
2) for caregivers living with ovarian cancer – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/avastin2015cg