In February 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval for the use of bevacizumab in metastatic breast cancer; however, approval was revoked in November 2011. We sought to categorize and analyze the newspaper reports related to bevacizumab's use in advanced breast cancer. Media reports are a common source of medical information, and we observed substantial fluidity of media reports over time.
Summarize findings regarding the media's portrayal of bevacizumab with each phase of therapeutic development.Identify media sources of information about bevacizumab in each phase of therapeutic development.
On February 22, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval for the use of bevacizumab (Avastin) in metastatic breast cancer. Based on subsequent clinical trials, this approval was revoked on November 18, 2011. In this study, we categorize and analyze the newspaper reports related to bevacizumab's use in advanced breast cancer.
Using the Factiva media database, we reviewed all newspaper reports published in North America from January 4, 2002, to January 4, 2013, containing the words “breast cancer” and “Avastin,” or “bevacizumab.” Articles were classified as pre-approval (January 4, 2002–February 21, 2008), approval (February 22, 2008–November 17, 2011), or post-approval loss (November 18, 2011–January 4, 2013). Information regarding benefits, side effects, costs, interviewees, and article tone and theme were abstracted from each article by two independent reviewers. Differences among the three study phases were compared using the chi square analysis.
A total of 359 articles met study inclusion criteria. The number of reports having a positive headline tone and/or positive article tone declined with each study period. The proportion of articles discussing side effects and financial costs increased, whereas those discussing efficacy decreased with each study period. Drug representatives were most likely to be quoted in newspaper articles prior to bevacizumab's approval.
Media reports are a common source of medical information for patients, practitioners, and policy makers. We observed substantial fluidity of media reports over time.