Research News in the First Two Months of 2022

This is the thirteenth article of the project which has the objective of collecting (every two months) the news of the research on possible treatments for glioblastoma multiforme. I am happy to write it today which is March 8 and Women’s Day is celebrated. I therefore take this opportunity to hug virtually all women who are battling glioblastoma or assisting patients with glioblastoma.
Below you will find the news that we considered most significant. As for the previous articles in the series, each news will be preceded by the original title with a link to the source and followed by a short comment. The criteria by which news is chosen is always to include in general only news related to research in the clinical phase, unless the research potential for the treatment of glioblastoma is really a game changer.

Efficacy and safety of bevacizumab in combination with other therapeutic regimens for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma: a network meta-analysis
Bevacizumab (Avastin) is an FDA-approved treatment for glioblastoma, which inhibits VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). By itself, for glioblastomas, it did not increase overall survival, but it did provide greater progression-free survival. It is thought that combining it with other drugs is more rational than using it alone if the purpose is to extend life. This study examines the scientific literature and reports which combinations did best. previously, the best combination was Bevacizumab plus Rindopepimut. Unfortunately, the Rindopepimut is no longer available. It is a therapeutic vaccine against EGFRvIII. It worked very well in the first few studies, but in a large randomized study it did no better than the control group. Both groups had better historical data, but the way the study was designed led to the study failing and the company did not continue producing the drug.

Results from a post hoc analysis of study EF-14 showed that Optune + TMZ was associated with an increase in median OS compared to TMZ alone in patients ineligible for surgical resection
These studies analyzed the results of the large EF-14 clinical trial for newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients who were treated with the Optune device and Temozolomide. The patients were divided into 3 groups, those who only had the biopsy, those with partial resection and those with total tumor resection. In all 3 groups there was a significant survival advantage using the Optune device. For patients with biopsy alone, median survival with the Optune was compared with 16.5 months to 11.5 months without the Optune.
For patients with partial resection, the outlook was slightly better, 21.4 months with the Optune versus 15.1 months without the Optune. Finally, for patients who achieved a complete resection, the median survival with the Optune was 22.6 months versus 18.5 without the Optune.

Glioblastoma cancer treatment fields: is the treatment tolerable, effective and practical in UK patients?
This is an interesting study. In the UK they did not trust the EF-14 Optune study, which enrolled around 700 patients. The study was performed in a small group of 9 patients (from the worst prognostic group) and they achieved the same result. Studies done in the US are often repeated in Europe which is a real waste. The only possible objective of these studies is to find reasons not to use this treatment which is probably very expensive. Also in Italy at the moment Optune is not part of the standard treatment. A pity because even a few more months of survival can be important because in the meantime new treatments can come out that combined with standard therapy can provide new hope.

There are no other important news. A lot of research in the preclinical phase that we do not report for editorial choice. Best of luck to all those battling glioblastoma and their loved ones!