Avastin, a drug used to treat colorectal cancer, increases the risk of heart problems such as stroke, heart attack, chest pain, and mini-strokes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and drug manufacturer Genentech, Inc., warned Friday.
A company spokesperson said that some patients taking Avastin had died from heart problems, but couldn’t give a precise number.
The FDA and Genentech sent letters to doctors warning them that the risk of serious heart problems was doubled in cancer patients who took Avastin with their chemotherapy.
The drug received FDA approval early this year. Avastin works by blocking new blood vessels in order to deprive cancer cells of the nutrients and oxygen they need to survive.