The combination of irinotecan and bevacizumab has shown efficacy in the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). A prospective, phase II study of 85 patients with various recurrent brain tumors was carried out. Primary endpoints were progression free survival (PFS) and response rate.
Material and methods: Patients with recurrent primary brain tumors with performance status 0-2 were eligible. Intravenous bevacizumab 10 mg/kg and irinotecan 125/340 mg/m(2) were administered every 14 days. Evaluation was carried out every eight weeks using MRI and Macdonald response criteria. Treatment was continued until progression.
Results: In total 85 patients were included with the following histologies: GBM (n = 32), glioma WHO gr. III (n = 33), glioma WHO gr. II (n = 12) and others (n = 8). Patients received a median of four cycles. ORR (overall response rate) for glioblastoma was 25% and 59% achieved stable disease (SD). Median PFS was 5.2 months. For grade III gliomas ORR was 21% and 45% had SD. Median PFS was 3.7 months. No objective responses occurred in grade II gliomas. In the non-glioma population, one PR as well as several long PFS times were observed.
Discussion and conclusion: The combination of bevacizumab and irinotecan is well tolerated and moderately efficacious in glioblastoma and glioma WHO gr. III. A majority of patients achieve at least disease stabilization. Prolonged progression-free survival in non-glioma patients warrants further research.