Bevacizumab Treatment Reportedly Increases Quality of Life in Adults & Children

Author: Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trials Consortium
Published On: 02/04/2020

The Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trials Consortium (NFCTC) researchers, led by study chair Dr. Scott Plotkin at Massachusetts General Hospital, recently published results from a Phase II evaluation of high-dose bevacizumab used as a therapy in neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) patients with vestibular schwannomas (VSs) in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Bilateral VSs are a hallmark of NF2 and can lead to hearing loss and other complications. Bevacizumab is used for treatment of several types of cancer, often in combination with other therapeutics. It functions through inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), an important molecule in the growth of new blood vessels, which could prevent or slow the growth of tumors. This study, performed under a fiscal year 2011 (FY11) Department of Defense Neurofibromatosis Research Program (NFRP) award, used a higher dose of bevacizumab than previous studies to determine whether a higher dose would have a larger effect. 

The researchers enrolled children and adults with progressive VSs who were poor candidates for surgery or radiation treatment, and they evaluated the hearing response and radiographic response rates to the medication. Quality of life for patients was measured with the NF2 Impact on Quality of Life (NFTI-QOL) questionnaire and the Tinnitus Reaction Questionnaire before and after treatment. The NFTI-QOL assesses hearing, dizziness and balance, facial palsy, sight, mobility and walking, role and outlook on life, pain, and anxiety and depression. 

When compared to lower doses, high-dose bevacizumab seemed to be similarly effective at increasing hearing response and shrinking tumors, suggesting that the lower doses are adequate for treatment. Additionally, while tumor shrinkage was observed in adult patients on induction therapy, this was not observed in children on the same therapy. However, both adults and children reported improvements in quality of life, which indicates that treatments incorporating bevacizumab could be beneficial to children with NF2.


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