Background: We describe early dissemination patterns for first-line bevacizumab given for metastatic colorectal cancer treatment.Methods: We analyzed patient surveys and medical records for a population-based cohort with metastatic colorectal cancer treated in multiple regions and health systems in the United States (US). Eligible patients were diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer and initiated first-line chemotherapy after US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) bevacizumab approval in February 2004. First-line bevacizumab therapy was defined as receiving bevacizumab within 8 weeks of starting chemotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancer. We evaluated factors associated with first-line bevacizumab treatment using logistic regression.Results: Among 355 patients, 31% received first-line bevacizumab in the two years after FDA approval, including 26% of men, 41% of women, and 16% of those ≥ 75 years. Use rose sharply within 6 months after FDA approval, then plateaued. 20% of patients received bevacizumab in combination with irinotecan; 53% received it with oxaliplatin. Men were less likely than women to receive bevacizumab (adjusted OR 0.55; 95% CI 0.32-0.93; p = 0.026). Patients ≥ 75 years were less likely to receive bevacizumab than patients < 55 years (adjusted OR 0.13; 95% CI 0.04-0.46; p = 0.001).Conclusions: One-third of eligible metastatic colorectal cancer patients received first-line bevacizumab shortly after FDA approval. Most patients did not receive bevacizumab as part of the regimen used in the pivotal study leading to FDA approval. © 2011 Zafar et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.