Interview with Beth Eaby, MSN, CRNP, OCN
Ms Eaby is Nurse Practitioner for Outpatient Thoracic Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
How does bevacizumab work?
DR LOVE: Now, can you talk a little bit about what you say to patients in terms of why this study is being done, why bevacizumab, or Avastin, is being studied in this way?
MS EABY: So, it has shown a survival advantage in patients who have Stage IV disease. So, disease that we can see and follow. And because of the fact that it’s improved actually survival and the time that it takes for them to progress, we think that possibly it could help improve cure rates in the adjuvant setting. And I can’t say I necessarily would know why that would be, if it’s some form of way of delivering the chemotherapy better or it’s a drug that restricts blood flow to tumors, even though there’s not, hopefully, a tumor there. But we’re hoping that that will increase cure rates, as it’s improved survival rates in our Stage IV patients.
DR LOVE: Now, in terms of a patient – let’s say you see a patient who you think could possibly go into this study. What would you say to them in terms of the benefits of them actually participating?
MS EABY: I tell them that I can’t tell them if there’s a benefit, because I don’t know the answer to that. I tell them that we have a hunch or we think that hopefully there will be a benefit, because it has shown a benefit in lung cancer before. But I tell them that I don’t know the answer to that, but that the only way that we’re able to advance any treatment in lung cancer is by patients participating on clinical trials and trying to enroll patients and find better treatments.
DR LOVE: I guess patients who go on this particular trial will get standard treatment, so half of them will get just standard treatment, which there’s nothing wrong with. That’s what they would get anyhow. And the other half get this experimental approach, where they receive the standard treatment plus the bevacizumab. And I guess there is the hope and the possibility that those patients actually might do better, or I guess they could do worse, too. Now, you mentioned that the chemotherapy is usually given for four courses. How about the bevacizumab?
MS EABY: So, if you are in that 50 percent of patients that get randomized to the bevacizumab arm, you will be required to come back once every three weeks to just receive that drug. And if you’re randomized to the bevacizumab arm, that will go on every three weeks for a year.