FDA panel: Avastin not effective for breast cancer

June 29, 2011 - 2:44 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A panel of federal cancer experts says the best-selling cancer drug in the world isn't effective in treating breast cancer because it provides little benefit and causes dangerous side effects.

The Food and Drug Administration previously said once that Avastin, made by Roche, shouldn't be used for breast cancer because it doesn't extend or improve life. The agency granted an unprecedented second hearing after Roche protested that conclusion.

The FDA panel voted 6-0 against Avastin's effectiveness.

The vote is not binding and FDA's commissioner will make the final decision. The drug is approved for a variety of cancer types and can be used for breast cancer even if the FDA removes approval. However, many insurers will not pay for the $100,000 drug unless it is backed by FDA.