Efficacy and Biomarker Study of Bevacizumab for Hearing Loss Resulting From Neurofibromatosis Type 2-Associated Vestibular Schwannomas

J Clin Oncol. 2016 May 10;34(14):1669-75. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.64.3817. Epub 2016 Mar 14.


Purpose: Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) is a tumor predisposition syndrome characterized by bilateral vestibular schwannomas (VSs) resulting in deafness and brainstem compression. This study evaluated efficacy and biomarkers of bevacizumab activity for NF2-associated progressive and symptomatic VSs.

Patients and methods: Bevacizumab 7.5 mg/kg was administered every 3 weeks for 46 weeks, followed by 24 weeks of surveillance after treatment with the drug. The primary end point was hearing response defined by word recognition score (WRS). Secondary end points included toxicity, tolerability, imaging response using volumetric magnetic resonance imaging analysis, durability of response, and imaging and blood biomarkers.

Results: Fourteen patients (estimated to yield > 90% power to detect an alternative response rate of 50% at alpha level of 0.05) with NF2, with a median age of 30 years (range, 14 to 79 years) and progressive hearing loss in the target ear (median baseline WRS, 60%; range 13% to 82%), were enrolled. The primary end point, confirmed hearing response (improvement maintained ≥ 3 months), occurred in five (36%) of 14 patients (95% CI, 13% to 65%; P < .001). Eight (57%) of 14 patients had transient hearing improvement above the 95% CI for WRS. No patients experienced hearing decline. Radiographic response was seen in six (43%) of 14 target VSs. Three grade 3 adverse events, hypertension (n = 2) and immune-mediated thrombocytopenic purpura (n = 1), were possibly related to bevacizumab. Bevacizumab treatment was associated with decreased free vascular endothelial growth factor (not bound to bevacizumab) and increased placental growth factor in plasma. Hearing responses were inversely associated with baseline plasma hepatocyte growth factor (P = .019). Imaging responses were associated with high baseline tumor vessel permeability and elevated blood levels of vascular endothelial growth factor D and stromal cell-derived factor 1α (P = .037 and .025, respectively).

Conclusion: Bevacizumab treatment resulted in durable hearing response in 36% of patients with NF2 and confirmed progressive VS-associated hearing loss. Imaging and plasma biomarkers showed promising associations with response that should be validated in larger studies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Bevacizumab / administration & dosage*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / drug therapy*
  • Hearing Loss / etiology
  • Hearing Loss / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / drug therapy*
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / metabolism*
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / physiopathology
  • Neuroma, Acoustic / drug therapy*
  • Neuroma, Acoustic / metabolism*
  • Neuroma, Acoustic / physiopathology
  • Young Adult


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Bevacizumab