On December 16, 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended removing their approval of Avastin (chemical name: bevacizumab) for the treatment of metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer. There has been extensive coverage in the U.S. media on this decision. The team at Breastcancer.org received dozens of media requests. As a result, Breastcancer.org thought it would be interesting to find out what our visitors knew about this issue and what they thought of the FDA’s decision.
Breastcancer.org launched a 12-question survey across the site, which ran from December 17-20. There were 521 completed surveys. Here’s what respondents told us.
Most of the respondents (360 or 63%) noted that they have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Among those diagnosed with breast cancer: 40 (8%) were Stage 0; 79 (15%) were Stage I; 80 (15%) were Stage IIa; 41 (8%) were Stage IIb; 38 (7%) were Stage IIIa; 13 (3%) were Stage IIIb; 10 (2%) were Stage IIIc; and 59 (11%) were Stage IV.
Awareness that the FDA was considering removing their approval for the treatment of Avastin for patients with metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer was split evenly.
A little over half of respondents were aware of the FDA’s decision on December 16th.
More than half of respondents were not aware that the FDA’s decision only applied to Avastin’s use in the treatment of HER2-negative breast cancer, and did not apply to Avastin’s approval for the treatment of lung, colon, kidney, and brain cancers.
Most respondents were not aware that the FDA’s decision on Avastin’s approval for the treatment of HER2-negative breast cancer was the first step in the process and that Avastin will be available until further notice.
Most respondents either disagreed with the FDA’s decision (40%) or were neutral (38%).
When asked if they would consider taking Avastin if it was a treatment option for them, nearly half were not sure, while over one-third believed that the potential benefit would outweigh the potential side effect risks.
When asked to speculate on the impact of the FDA’s decision to remove approval for Avastin in the treatment of HER2-negative breast cancer, most responded that they thought it will be difficult for people to access and/or get insurance coverage for Avastin.
Most respondents noted that their interest in participating in clinical trials for breast cancer was either unaffected by the FDA’s decision, or they did not know if they would be interested.
People around the world responded. Most were from the U.S. (75%), but other countries/territories included:
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- West Indies
- Puerto Rico
To learn more about the FDA’s decision, please read Breastcancer.org’s coverage in Research News.