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Neuro Oncol. 2009 Oct;11(5):550-5. doi: 10.1215/15228517-2009-006. Epub 2009 Mar 30.

Role of a second chemotherapy in recurrent malignant glioma patients who progress on bevacizumab.

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Center for Neuro-Oncology, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.


Bevacizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that has efficacy in recurrent malignant gliomas, particularly in combination with irinotecan. However, responses are rarely durable. Continuation of bevacizumab in combination with another chemotherapeutic agent may demonstrate some activity. In this article we present a retrospective review of 54 patients with recurrent malignant gliomas who progressed on a bevacizumab-containing regimen and were then treated with an alternate bevacizumab-containing regimen. All patients received intravenous bevacizumab (5-10 mg/kg) every 2 weeks alone or in combination with an additional chemotherapeutic agent, such as irinotecan. There was no limit on the number of prior therapies. Clinical characteristics and outcomes were reviewed. Tumor progression was determined by a combination of clinical status and radiographic changes. Patients were 33 men, 21 women (median age, 50 years; range, 23-72 years) with a median KPS score of 80 prior to the first bevacizumab-containing regimen and 70 prior to the second regimen; median prior chemotherapy regimens including the first bevacizumab-containing regimen was 3 (range, 2-5). Median progression-free survival (PFS) on the first bevacizumab-containing regimen was 124 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 87-154 days); 6-month (6M)-PFS was 33%. Median PFS on the second bevacizumab-containing regimen was 37.5 days (95% CI, 34-42 days); 6M-PFS was 2%. Ten patients on the first regimen and 12 patients on the second regimen suffered grade 3/4 toxicities. Those patients with malignant gliomas who progressed despite a bevacizumab-containing regimen rarely responded to the second bevacizumab-containing chemotherapeutic regimen. In such patients, alternate therapies should be considered.

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