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Anti-angiogenesis treatment improves hearing in some NF2 patients
Date:7/8/2009

ted and sporadic vestibular schwannomas. With this suggestion that angiogenesis was involved in these tumors, members of the research team offered treatment with bevacizumab (Avastin), which is FDA-approved for treatment of several forms of cancer, to NF2 patients in danger of complete hearing loss or other significant neurological damage.

Among the first ten NF2 patients to receive bevacizumab, treatment led to tumor shrinkage in nine, and six had 20 percent or greater reduction in tumor size. In those six patients, tumor shrinkage lasted from 11 to 16 months, longer than the four months typically seen in bevacizumab treatment of malignant brain tumors. Of seven patients who had started to lose their hearing before treatment, four experienced some hearing restoration two returning to work or school as a result improvement that has also lasted for up to 16 months. In one patient without significant tumor shrinkage or hearing improvement (he had lost all hearing prior to treatment), treatment alleviated headaches and nausea caused by brainstem compression, allowing him also to return to school.

"This study has opened a new approach to research and understanding of these tumors," says Emmanuelle di Tomaso, PhD, the study's senior author, formerly with the Steele Laboratory of Tumor Biology in the MGH Department of Radiation Oncology. "There had been a dogma that these tumors do not produce edema and are not angiogenic, concepts that now need to be reevaluated." She adds that the study also suggests that VEGF the angiogenesis factor blocked by bevacizumab may have a role in nerve physiology beyond the stimulation of blood vessel growth.

Plotkin notes, "Based on the results of this study, we have just opened the first formal clinical trial of a drug treatment for NF2. We are testing an exciting new, oral VEGF inhibitor that will be easier for patients to take bevacizumab is administered intravenously and may have fewer side eff
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Contact: Katie Marquedant
kmarquedant@partners.org
617-726-0337
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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