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Cureus. 2016 Dec 18;8(12):e933. doi: 10.7759/cureus.933.

Bevacizumab for Treatment-Refractory Pain Control in Neurofibromatosis Patients.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine.
Department of Neurology, Stanford University School of Medicine.


Chronic pain is a well-known morbidity associated with neurofibromatosis (NF) for which better therapies are needed. Surgery, radiation, and pain medications have been utilized, but often fail to relieve debilitating pain. One patient at our institution was noted to have near complete resolution of pain after treatment with bevacizumab for progressive neurologic deficit associated with NF2, suggesting its potential as an effective pain control method. We aim to better characterize the use of bevacizumab for pain control in this subset of patients.  Patients and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 38 NF patients treated at our institution.   Results: Of the 38 total NF patients, we found that 63% reported chronic pain, with 18% reporting chronic opiate usage. Nine patients with chronic pain were considered for bevacizumab treatment and five went on to receive infusions. Of these patients, four out of five had previous surgical debulking and two out of five had previous radiation for attempted pain control. One patient had a lesion not amenable to surgery or radiation. Patients received a median of 13 cycles of bevacizumab, and four out of five patients reported a decrease in subjective pain. All patients that had pain relief had a relapse of pain symptoms when the dose was reduced or infusions were paused. Seventy-five percent were able to decrease opiate use. No major complications were noted. All five patients have elected to continue infusions for pain control.  Conclusion: Bevacizumab was, in general, well tolerated and should be considered as a treatment option in NF patients with chronic pain refractory or not amenable to surgical decompression and debulking, radiation, and pain medication.


bevacizumab; neurofibromatosis; pain control; vegf

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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