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Ann Oncol. 2012 Feb;23(2):458-63. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr148. Epub 2011 May 4.

Intracranial hemorrhage in patients with cancer treated with bevacizumab: the Memorial Sloan-Kettering experience.

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Department of Neurology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York 10065, USA.



Bevacizumab is a monoclonal antibody targeting vascular endothelial growth factor approved for recurrent glioblastoma (GBM), metastatic breast, colorectal and non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLC). There has been a potentially increased risk of intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) in patients receiving bevacizumab.


We retrospectively identified patients with ICH who received bevacizumab between 1 January 2001 and 10 January 2009.


We identified 1024 patients with ICH, 4191 patients who received bevacizumab and 12 (0.3%) who met both our criteria. There were eight women and four men with a median age of 66 years. Primary cancers were ovarian (n = 3), NSCLC (n = 3), colon (n = 1), angiosarcoma (n = 1) and GBM (n = 4). Intracranial tumors were present in 9 of the 12 patients; the remaining three (25%) had no evidence of intracranial pathology. Two hundred and fifty-seven patients with these same primary pathologies and brain tumors were treated with bevacizumab; ICH was seen in nine (3.7%), which was comparable to the 3.6% frequency seen in comparable patients not receiving bevacizumab.


ICH with bevacizumab treatment in this population is rare and does not appear to increase its frequency over the baseline rate of ICH in a comparable population. Most bevacizumab-related ICH occurs into central nervous system tumors but spontaneous hemorrhages were seen.

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