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Bevacizumab May Improve Hearing in Neurofibromatosis

Last Updated: July 08, 2009.

Treatment with bevacizumab may improve hearing in patients with neurofibromatosis type 2, and it may also be associated with a reduction in growing vestibular schwannoma volume, according to a study published online July 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

WEDNESDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with bevacizumab may improve hearing in patients with neurofibromatosis type 2, and it may also be associated with a reduction in growing vestibular schwannoma volume, according to a study published online July 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Scott R. Plotkin, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues studied 10 consecutive neurofibromatosis type 2 patients who had progressive vestibular schwannomas and were not candidates for standard treatment. The researchers treated all 10 patients with the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) monoclonal antibody bevacizumab.

The researchers found that VEGF was expressed in 100 percent of the vestibular schwannomas. After treatment with bevacizumab, tumors shrank in nine of the 10 patients, while six had a decrease of at least 20 percent in tumor volume, which was maintained in four patients during 11 to 16 months of follow-up. Three of the patients were not eligible for a hearing response -- defined as a significant increase in word-recognition score -- but four patients had a hearing response, two had stable hearing, and the investigators found progressive hearing loss in one patient.

"Our findings confirm that VEGF is produced by schwannoma tumor cells and suggests that this growth factor may participate in tumor growth and hearing loss associated with vestibular schwannomas," the authors conclude.

Several of the study's authors reported financial ties to many pharmaceutical companies.

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