Objective: Early studies suggest that bevacizumab treatment can result in tumor shrinkage and hearing improvement for some patients with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2). The aim of this study was to report extended follow-up in a larger cohort of similarly treated patients.
Study design: Retrospective study.
Setting: Tertiary referral center
Patients: Thirty-one consecutive NF2 patients who received bevacizumab for progressive vestibular schwannomas.
Main outcome measure: Hearing improvement, defined as an improvement in word recognition score above the 95% critical difference compared with baseline, and radiographic response, defined as a 20% or greater decrease in tumor volume compared with baseline.
Results: The median age was 26 years (range, 12-73 yr). The median volumetric tumor growth rate before treatment was 64% per year. At the time of analysis, the median duration of treatment was 14 months (range, 6-41 mo) with a total of 47 patient-years of follow-up. A hearing response occurred in 57% (13/23) of evaluable patients and a radiographic response in 55% (17/31) of target vestibular schwannomas. The median time to response was 3 months for both end points. The only clinical or radiographic feature at baseline that correlated with change in tumor volume at 3 months was the mean apparent diffusion coefficient value, a radiologic marker of edema (p = 0.036). Ninety percent of patients had stable or improved hearing after 1 year of treatment and 61% at 3 years; 88% of patients had stable or decreased tumor size after 1 year of treatment and 54% at 3 years. Overall, treatment was well tolerated.
Conclusion: Bevacizumab treatment was followed by hearing improvement and tumor shrinkage in more than 50% of progressive vestibular schwannomas in NF2 patients. Stable or improved hearing was retained in the majority of patients.