Avastin rejected by EMA for Treatment of Glioblastoma

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Charles S. Cobbs, MD

The Gregory Foltz, MD Endowed Director
Ben & Catherine Ivy Center for
Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment
Swedish Neuroscience Specialists

 

The advisers to the European Medicines Agency have recommended against expanding Avastin to treat glioblastoma.  http://www.pharmatimes.com/Article/14-05-25/EMA_advisors_reject_Avastin_for_brain_cancer.aspx

While Avastin is used generously in the United States for glioblastoma, and can induced dramatic effects in patients with large bulky tumors with significant edema and mass effect, there has been no substantial evidence that this blockbuster drug has increased survival for glioblastoma patients. Avastin also is not a panacea for glioblastoma patients because there are multiple complications that can be associated with taking Avastin.  Avastin cannot be given to patients within one month of surgical treatment, and conversely surgery cannot be performed on someone until one month after Avastin treatment. Other problems such as intracerebral bleeds, deep venous thromboses and cardiac effects can occur.

Because of all of these issues, and because Avastin has not clearly been shown to improve patient survival, the European medicines agency has rejected having Avastin become standard of care for glioblastoma. Whether or not this will occur in the United States in the future is up for speculation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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