Temozolomide with irinotecan versus temozolomide, irinotecan plus bevacizumab for recurrent medulloblastoma of childhood: Report of a COG randomized Phase II screening trial

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2021 Aug;68(8):e29031. doi: 10.1002/pbc.29031. Epub 2021 Apr 12.


Background: Approximately 30% of children with medulloblastoma (MB) experience recurrence, which is usually incurable. This study compared the overall survival (OS) of patients receiving temozolomide (TMZ) and irinotecan with that of patients receiving TMZ, irinotecan, and bevacizumab for recurrent MB/central nervous system (CNS) primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET).

Methods: Patients with relapsed/refractory MB or CNS PNET were randomly assigned to receive TMZ (150 mg/m2 /day PO on days 1-5) and irinotecan (50 mg/m2 /day IV on days 1-5) with or without bevacizumab (10 mg/kg IV on days 1 and 15).

Results: One hundred five patients were eligible and treated on study. Median OS was 13 months in the standard arm and 19 months with the addition of bevacizumab; median event-free survival (EFS) was 6 months in the standard arm and 9 months with the addition of bevacizumab. The hazard ratio for death from the stratified relative-risk regression model is 0.63. Overall, 23 patients completed 12 courses of planned protocol therapy, 23% (12/52) in the experimental arm with bevacizumab versus 21% (11/53) in the standard arm. Toxicity profiles were comparable in both treatment arms. The estimate of the incidence of feasibility events associated with the bevacizumab arm is three of 52 (5.8%) (95% CI 1.2-16%). Events included myelosuppression, electrolyte abnormalities, diarrhea, and elevated transaminases. One intracranial hemorrhage event was observed in each arm.

Conclusion: The addition of bevacizumab to TMZ/irinotecan significantly reduced the risk of death in children with recurrent MB. The combination was relatively well tolerated in this heavily pretreated cohort. The three-drug regimen demonstrated a sufficient risk reduction to warrant further investigation.

Keywords: PNET; bevacizumab; irinotecan; recurrent medulloblastoma; temozolomide.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols* / therapeutic use
  • Bevacizumab / therapeutic use
  • Brain Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Irinotecan / therapeutic use
  • Medulloblastoma* / drug therapy
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive* / drug therapy
  • Temozolomide / therapeutic use


  • Bevacizumab
  • Irinotecan
  • Temozolomide