Glioblastoma: Bevacizumab (Avastin) Does Not Improve Survival

brain tumor glioma coronal

What You Need to Know: The addition of bevacizumab (Avastin) to first-line chemotherapy and radiation therapy did not improve overall survival length for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

The Study: Gilbert and colleagues randomly assigned 637 patients with GBM to the standard – radiation therapy (RT) + temozolamide + placebo versus RT + temozolamide + bevacizumab; that is, RT/temozolamide +/- bevacizumab. At progression, those on placebo could switch over to bevacizumab.

Results: Median overall survival times for both groups were around 16 months. Progression free survival was 10.7 months in the bevacizumab group versus 7.3 months in the standard. Side effects were more common in the bevacizumab group, including blood clots, low platelet counts, and high blood pressure.

My take: This study highlights are frustrations with GBM. In spite of improvement in progression-free survival, no gain in overall survival. Clearly, this study does not support the upfront use of bevacizumab for patients with GBM, but may play a role for recurrent disease. The discovery of molecular subgroups of GBM should open the door to a new understanding of the underlying genetic mutations that drive GBM, offering hope for the future. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minuteable now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

Reference: Gilbert MR. Abstract #1. ASCO Annual Meeting 2013 (Chicago, IL, USA).

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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