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Conquest - Fall 2013

A drug. A disease. Three studies. Four investigators.

Analyzing bevacizumab for glioblastomas

By Laura Sussman, William Fitzgerald and Sandi Stromberg

Glioblastoma remains the most common and lethal of brain cancers. So it isn’t surprising that when a drug shows early promise, MD Anderson clinical researchers design protocols to understand how effective it will be for patients — especially in a disease that has too few effective treatments.

At the 2013 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), four investigators presented their findings in studies with bevacizumab (Avastin) for patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma.

The drug, which blocks blood vessel growth that feeds the tumor, first showed promise in patients when clinicians reported positive results treating the disease under approved compassionate use. Numerous studies then found similar results: 35% to 40% tumor shrinkage in more than 50% of the patients — with a 50% progression-free survival rate in 30% of them. With these findings in May 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated registration of bevacizumab for recurrent, re-growing glioblastoma.


Q&A: Understanding Glioblastoma, Part 2

See MD Anderson's Newsroom and Cancer Frontline for more information on these and other basic, translational and clinical research findings at MD Anderson.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center