Avelumab or Bavencio

Avelumab or Bavencio

This patient-friendly article is about chemotherapy drug, Avelumab (trade name: Bavencio) used to treat bladder cancer if the given platinum medicine did not work; patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma that has progressed within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment, during or before the platinum-containing chemotherapy and patients with skin cancer (MCC) from the age above 12 years old. 

Avelumab is an antineoplastics medicine approved by the FDA in 2017. Recently, in May 2019, FDA also approves that Bavencio can be used in combination with Axitinib (Inlyta) to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer as a first-line treatment. Avelumab is usually injected (IV) once every two weeks with the dosage of 800 mg IV over 60 minutes until unacceptable toxicity or disease progression.

Approved by

the Medical Board. 

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Bavencio works by changing the immune system in the body and acting as an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody. Cancer cells can avoid being attacked by the T-cells by using the programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1). Avelumab inhibits the binding of the PD-L1 and PD-1 receptors. This means that PD-L1 no longer binds onto the receptors on T-cells (PD-1) and suppresses their function. This allows the T-cells to attack the tumour.

Common side effects of using Bavencio for patients with:

MCC: fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, musculoskeletal pain (pain in muscles and bones), rash and swelling of hands and feet (peripheral oedema).

Bladder cancer: fatigue, diarrhea, decreased appetite, musculoskeletal pain and urinary tract infection.

Precautions: Because of the mechanism of the drug altering the immune system of the body to attack the cancer cells, there are possibilities that it could attack the healthy tissues, affecting multiple organs and can become fatal. These potential problems include:

  • Complications in the lungs, liver, colon, hormones and/or kidneys
  • damaging the embryo (embryo-fetal toxicity) if used during pregnancy. 

Go to: 10 ways to improve your chemotherapy success and reduce side-effects

Other articles that you may find interesting are:

  1. A diet for Chemotherapy
  2. Immunotherapy overview
  3. A to Z Guide to Complementary Therapies

Go to: Return to the CANCERactive drug list


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