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Mayo Clinic Study: Brain Cancer Survival Improved After FDA Okayed Bevacizumab

Patients with glioblastoma live significantly longer (August 19)

A new population-based study has found that patients with glioblastoma who died in 2010, after the FDA approval of bevacizumab, 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 the brain cancer. Bevacizumab is used to treat patients with certain cancers whose cancer has spread. The study was published in Cancer.

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

Researchers analyzed data on 5,607 adult patients from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) 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 U.S., which collectively represent 28 percent 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,” Johnson says. “This study provides the strongest evidence to date that bevacizumab therapy improves survival in patients with glioblastoma.”

Source: Mayo Clinic; August 19, 2013.

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