Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center have found that AZD2171 (RECENTIN(tm)), a new angiogenesis inhibitor, can significantly reduce the size of the deadly brain tumors called glioblastomas and has the potential of improving the effectiveness of other therapeutic techniques. The Phase 2 clinical trial also finds that AZD2171 treatment can alleviate brain swelling (edema), a debilitating symptom in many brain cancer patients that currently can be treated only with steroid drugs. Appearing in the January 2007 issue of Cancer Cell, the study is too preliminary to determine whether this new drug may have an impact on overall patient survival.
"Patients with recurrent glioblastomas desperately need new, effective treatment alternatives," says Tracy Batchelor, MD, chief of Neuro-Oncology in the MGH Cancer Center, the study's lead author. "While these are preliminary results of an initial trial, it's looking like these agents may play an increasingly important role in the treatment of patients whose tumors have recurred and perhaps in newly diagnosed patients as well."
Glioblastoma is the most malignant form of brain tumor and has a very poor prognosis. Standard treatments including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may delay tumor growth, but patients usually survive for little more than a year. There are currently no effective options for patients whose tumors recur, the vast majority of whom die within 6 months.
Angiogenesis inhibitors suppress the growth of blood vessels supplying a tumor and have received a lot of attention as potential cancer-fighting agents. While the earliest clinical trials did not meet expectations that these drugs would 'starve' tumors, the agents did improve patient survival when combined with traditional anticancer therapies. Three such drugs have received FDA approval for the treatment of certain tumors, and several others are under investigation. An oral m
Contact: Sue McGreevey
Massachusetts General Hospital