Vietnam mulls suspending breast cancer drug

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The Drug Administration of Vietnam has said it will consider revoking approval for a drug used to treat breast cancer following revocation by the US Food and Drug Administration several days ago.

The agency said Monday that the FDA had revoked its approval of the breast cancer indication for Avastin after concluding that the drug was not effective in delaying tumor growth in metastatic breast cancer, but brought life-threatening side effects like heart failure.

The FDA said in its website: "It is clear that women who take Avastin for metastatic breast cancer risk potentially life-threatening side effects without proof that the use of Avastin will provide a benefit. Nor is there evidence that use of Avastin will either help them live longer or improve their quality of life." 

But the drug remains in use in the US to treat cancer of the colon, lung, kidney, and brain .

Tran Van Thuan, deputy director of the Hanoi-based K Hospital, told Thanh Nien that his hospital had stopped using the drug six months ago after studies showed it was not effective.

The drug is now mainly prescribed for people with colon and lung cancers, he added.

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