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Brain Cancer Survival Improved Following FDA Approval of Bevacizumab, Mayo Study Finds

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Key Points

  • A new population-based study has found that patients with glioblastoma who died in 2010, after the FDA approval of bevacizumab (Avastin), had lived significantly longer than patients who died of the disease in 2008, prior to the drug’s approval in glioblastoma
  • Researchers studied survival in 1,715 patients with glioblastoma who died in 2006, 1,924 who died in 2008, and 1,968 who died in 2010. The difference in survival between 2008 and 2010 was highly significant
  • Bevacizumab therapy improves survival in patients with glioblastoma.

A new population-based study has found that patients with glioblastoma who died in 2010, after the FDA approval of bevacizumab (Avastin), had lived significantly longer than patients who died of the disease in 2008, prior to the conditional approval of the drug for the treatment of  brain cancer. The study was published recently in the journal Cancer

"There has been a great deal of debate about the effectiveness of bevacizumab in treating patients with glioblastoma," said lead author Derek Johnson, MD, a neuro-oncologist at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. "Our study found that, at the population level, treatment strategies involving bevacizumab prolonged survival in patients with progressive glioblastoma." 

Difference in Survival Was Highly Significant

Researchers analyzed data on 5,607 adult patients from the NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database before and after the conditional approval of bevacizumab for the treatment of glioblastoma in 2009. The SEER database covers 18 geographic areas of the United States, collectively representing 28% of the U.S. population. 

Researchers studied survival in 1,715 patients with glioblastoma who died in 2006, 1,924 who died in 2008 and 1,968 who died in 2010. "The difference in survival between 2008 and 2010 was highly significant and likely unrelated to any advancements in supportive care," Dr. Johnson said. "This study provides the strongest evidence to date that bevacizumab therapy improves survival in patients with glioblastoma." 

Coauthors included Heather Leeper, MD, and Joon Uhm, MD, both of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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