Material and methods: We retrospectively determined the efficacy and safety of a combination of bevacizumab and irinotecan in a consecutive series of 52 heavily pre-treated patients with recurrent high-grade brain tumours. Patients received bevacizumab (10 mg/kg) and irinotecan [340 mg/m(2) for those receiving enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs (EIAEDs) and 125 mg/m(2) for those not receiving EIAEDs] every 2 weeks. Fifty-two patients were included and 47 were evaluable for response.
Results: Complete or partial response was observed in 25% of all cases (30% response in grade IV glioma and 15% in grade III glioma). Estimated median progression-free survival (PFS) for both grade IV and grade III glioma was 22 weeks. The 6-month PFS was 32% for all patients, 40% for grade IV glioma and 33% for grade III glioma. Estimated median overall survival was 30 weeks for all patients, 28 weeks for grade IV glioma and 32 weeks for grade III glioma. Four patients discontinued treatment because of unmanageable toxicity: cerebral haemorrhage, cardiac arrhythmia, intestinal perforation and diarrhoea, the latter resulting in death.
Discussion: We conclude that the combination of bevacizumab and irinotecan shows acceptable safety and is a clinically relevant choice of therapy in heavily pre-treated patients with recurrent high-grade brain tumours.