Bevacizumab for radiation necrosis following treatment of high grade glioma: A systematic review of the literature

Daniel Lubelski, Kalil G. Abdullah, Robert J. Weil, Nicholas F. Marko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


This review identifies the current literature on the use of bevacizumab for cerebral radiation necrosis in patients with high-grade gliomas, summarizes the clinical course and complications following bevacizumab, and discusses the relative costs and benefits of this therapeutic option. A Medline search was conducted of all clinical studies before September 2012 investigating outcomes following use of bevacizumab therapy for radiation necrosis in patients with high-grade gliomas. Clinical and radiographic outcomes are reviewed. Seven studies reported a total of 30 patients with high-grade gliomas treated with bevacizumab for radiation necrosis. All patients demonstrated decreased radiographic volume of edema on T1 and T2 MRI sequences. Clinical outcomes were reported for 23 patients: 16 (70 %) had improvement in neurologic signs or symptoms, 5 (22 %) had mixed results, and 2 (9 %) remained neurologically unchanged. Complications were documented in 5 of 7 studies (18 of 29 patients, 62 %) and included deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, visual field worsening, worsening hemiplegia, pneumonia, seizure, and fatigue. Only one study evaluated quality of life measures and none evaluated cost or cost effectiveness. Data regarding the use of bevacizumab to treat radiation necrosis in patients with high-grade gliomas is limited and primarily class III evidence. While bevacizumab improves neurological symptoms and reduces radiographic volume of necrosis-associated cerebral edema, it comes at the expense of a high rate of potentially serious complications. Definitive evidence for the utility, cost-effectiveness, and overall efficacy of this management strategy is currently lacking and additional investigation is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-322
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Astrocytoma
  • Cerebral edema
  • Complications
  • Glioblastoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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