Avastin for metastatic liver cancer

Avastin for metastatic liver cancer

What can Avastin do in the treatment of metastatic liver cancer? Reading the avastin.com website says that Avastin in combination with intravenous 5FU based chemotherapy is indicated for first- or second-line treatment of patients with metastatic carcinoma of the colon or rectum.


In other words: it’s added to the 5FU chemotherapy cocktail, 5FU that father’s oncologist wanted to give father to treat his metastatic liver cancer. But the oncologist advised father to consider not to undergo 5FU (see Fu like in F… you!) treatment because:


  • at the age of 75 and in a weak condition due to the cancer, father could not survive the treatment
  • the chemotherapy side-effects could really spoil father’s quality of life in the few extra months the chemotherapy could give him.


Father asked the most logical question:


can you guarantee me that 5Fu or Xeloda or any other chemotherapy will cure me?


The answer of the oncologist was :




How does Avastin work?


Avastin (brandname of Bevacizumab) is an antibody that interferes with the formation of new blood vessels. In case of treating a tumor this is ideal, as without new blood vessels, the tumor won’t be able to grow as there is no extra blood supply.


Avastin side effects


The most logical side effect is that wounds could heal slower or not at all because Avastin doesn’t allow your body to make new blood vessels to the wound.


Another side effect are the formation of blood cloths. Again logical: if your blood is not allowed to flow where it wants to flew due to Avastin interfering with the formation of blood cells.


But in stead of being logical, you need to trust your doctor’s experience (and ask for a second opinion with another doctor). It seems that Avastin can cause Gastrointestinal (GI) perforation, haemorrhage or hemoptysis : a severe bleeding problem at the site of the tumor.


The most common Avastin side effects in patients receiving Avastin with chemotherapy are weakness, pain, abdominal pain, headache, hypertension, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, mouth sores, constipation, upper respiratory infection, nosebleeds, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, and a possible sign of kidney malfunction (proteinuria ).


But then again, without Avastin in your regular chemotherapy, you could have similar side effects.


Avastin is no miracle cure


What I love about Avastin is the theoretical idea that:


…if you could only feed the tumor with Avastin,
the tumor won’t be able to grow…


What I hate about Avastin is:


the theory is a far cry away from reality:
adding Avastin along with the patients’ normal chemotherapy treatments.


Avastin for metastatic liver cancer is merely an addition to your chemotherapy treatment and not an alternative cancer treatment.

7 thoughts on “Avastin for metastatic liver cancer”

  1. Hi Ian,

    Thanks for sharing.

    At this moment, there are 2 other caregivers updating about chemo and mets at:

    Caregiver Catherine about her father Bill at

    And caregiver Chibi about her brother Dick:

    Praying that the chemo will remove the remaining cancer in your partner’s liver.

    Looking forward to your update or drop by to say whatever is on your mind.

    Love and hugs,


  2. My partner is just about to start chemo with avastin in 2 weeks time. She had breast cancer as her primery cancer, which spread to her bones and liver as secondary cancers. Chemo then surgery then radiation got rid of the breast and bone cancer leaving her with a small section of cancer in her liver. Hormone traetment hasnt worked and as I say, she is just about to start on chemo and avastin. Will keep you posted as to how she is responding.

  3. Kistan2,

    I am really interested in speaking to people who have found Avastin did not help with their treatment. I am looking at whether it is as effective as people are told it is will be.


  4. My husband had 2 infusions of Avastin combined with his liver cancer drug Nexavar. The first infusion caused his blood pressure to soar. As a result, he had to take blood pressure medication to stabilize his pressure. It was a while before they tried another infusion of Avastin but we all knew that this next infusion of Avastin wouldn’t do anything to help my husband. It was just a last hope gesture and even the nurse that was giving my husband the drip took the doctor aside and questioned why he would give this infusion to my husband when they all knew that this drug could do nothing for my husband. So in my opinion, this drug did nothing to help my husband except cause him to have high blood pressure.


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