A new brain cancer drug has been shown to boost survival and longevity in patients since its 2009 approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center researchers 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 drug’s approval for the treatment of the deadly brain cancer.
"There has been a great deal of debate about the effectiveness of bevacizumab in treating patients with glioblastoma," noted Derek Johnson, M.D., a Mayo neuro-oncologist who led the research published in the journal Cancer. "Our study found that, at the population level, treatment strategies involving bevacizumab prolonged survival in patients with progressive glioblastoma."
For the study, researchers analyzed medical records of 5,607 adult patients from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database before and after the approval of bevacizumab. Researchers compared survival in 1,715 patients 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."
Glioblastoma is an aggressive cancer in which tumors grow rapidly and spread to other parts of the body. It is the most common malignant brain tumor in adults and accounts for about 22 percent of all brain cancers. About 3,000 people develop a glioblastoma each year in the U.S.
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