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Bevacizumab, a humanized recombinant anti-vascular endothelial growth factor antibody, was approved in Canada in 2010 for the treatment of high-grade glioma. We report the effectiveness and safety of bevacizumab in the treatment of patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas at a single institution.
Twenty-seven consecutive patients with high-grade glioma (anaplastic glioma and glioblastoma) at first or subsequent relapse were treated with bevacizumab alone or in combination with chemotherapy. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS) and secondary endpoints were objective response rate, six month PFS, overall survival (OS), and safety profile.
The clinical benefit rate (complete and partial responses plus stable disease) was 59%. Median PFS was 4.3 (95% CI, 3.0-10.9) months, with a six month PFS rate of 43%. Median OS after current relapse was 8.9 (95% CI, 5.8-not reached) months. Ten episodes of grade 3/4 adverse events were observed in nine patients, including fatigue (n = 3), thrombocytopenia (n = 4), and myelotoxicity, febrile neutropenia, and pulmonary embolism (each n = 1).
We consider the efficacy and safety profile of bevacizumab is comparable to other cohorts of patients treated for recurrent high-grade glioma at other international institutions.
Since temozolomide (TMZ) entry into routine practice in the first-line management of glial tumors, post-TMZ recurrences present a growing challenge. Without standard chemotherapy for TMZ failure, care in such palliative settings requires consideration not only of efficacy but of toxicity and convenience.
At our institution, a combination regimen has been used: oral alkylating agents procarbazine (PCB) (100-150 mg/m2/day) and TMZ (150-200 mg/m2/day) administered on days 1-5 of a 28-day cycle. This treatment has been initiated upon radiological and/or clinical disease progression, and continued until evidence of further progression or toxicity. We retrospectively reviewed our experence with this regimen.
Since November 2004, 17 patients (median age 53) were treated for histologically confirmed glioma (glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), N=12; Grade 3 glioma, N=3; Grade 2 glioma, N=2) after a median of 2 recurrences. TMZ was previously given either as adjuvant therapy (post-chemoradiotherapy maintenance in 8 of 13 cases) or as salvage monotherapy (4 cases). Of 16 evaluable cases, 14 (13 high grade tumors) showed O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation. Two patients achieved partial response and one had complete response by RECIST criteria. Disease progressed after a median of 4 cycles (range 1 to 11+), with an actuarial progression-free survival of 42% after 6 cycles. Grade 3/4 toxicity was rare, and no dose reductions were needed. One patient discontinued treatment due to procarbazine hypersensitivity.
Combination PCB-TMZ is well-tolerated, with modest activity in TMZ-exposed glioma.
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