Extreme complications related to bevacizumab use in the treatment of ovarian cancer: a case series from a III level referral centre and review of the literature

Luigi Carlo Turco, Maria Gabriella Ferrandina, Virginia Vargiu, Serena Cappuccio, Anna Fagotti, Giuseppina Sallustio, Giovanni Scambia, Francesco Cosentino

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


In patients undergoing debulking surgery for ovarian cancer (OC), bevacizumab-combined chemotherapy has been reported to be associated with an increased incidence of adverse events (AEs). Reports in the literature have noted the overall morbidity of bevacizumab to be between 3.7% and 9%. The aim of this study is to report uncommon and unusual manifestations of morbidity in surgical cases performed at our third level referral centers for gynecologic oncology. Additionally, we review the rare and severe bevacizumab-related complications that have been described in the literature. We defined as "extreme", the particularly rare and/or severe complications up to determining a life-threatening condition or death, which are related to the use of bevacizumab. A case-series of extreme complications registered at our institutions were reported. In addition, a literature search of the PubMed, MEDLINE and EMBASE electronic databases was performed for this review. The studies collected included: 8 randomized controlled trials (RCT) and 5 prospective observational, 1 prospective phase-IV, 10 prospective phase-II, 2 prospective phase-I, and 20 retrospective studies, as well as 9 case reports. Bevacizumab was administered as primary treatment in adjuvant and neo-adjuvant setting in 16 and 5 studies respectively, as treatment for recurrence in 36 trials, and for secondary cytoreductive surgery (SCS) in 3 studies. The overall population administered with bevacizumab numbered 7,096 women. Extreme complications were observed in 591 patients, with a morbidity rate of the 8.3%. Overall, central nervous system (CNS), cardiovascular, gastrointestinal (GI) and primary infectious complications were seen in 22 patients (0.3%), 261 patients (3.7%), 159 patients (2.2%), and 8 patients (0.13%), respectively. Hemorrhagic and wound complications occurred in 18 women (0.25%), and 112 women (1.6%), respectively. Extreme complications related to the use of bevacizumab are rare, and often go unrecognized. The recognition and immediate management of such rare and life-threatening complications in patients treated at third level referral centers could significantly improve patient survival.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1687-1687
Numero di pagine1
RivistaAnnals of Translational Medicine
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020


  • Bevacizumab
  • case series
  • complications
  • ovarian cancer (OC)
  • translational medicine/personalized medicine


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