(HealthDay News) – For patients with stage IIB to IVB locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma, the addition of bevacizumab to standard chemoradiation therapy is safe and effective, according to a study published online December 16 in The Lancet Oncology.

Nancy Y. Lee, MD, from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues examined the feasibility and safety of adding bevacizumab to standard chemoradiotherapy for 44 patients with stage IIB to IVB locoregionally-advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Patients, aged 18 years and older, were enrolled from December 13, 2006, to February 5, 2009. They were treated with bevacizumab in addition to the standard chemoradiation therapy. The occurrence of treatment-related grade 4 hemorrhage or any grade 5 adverse event during the first year was the primary end point.

The investigators recorded no cases of grade 3 to 4 hemorrhages or grade 5 adverse events. Treatment-related grade 1 to 2 hemorrhages were identified in nine patients. One or more grade 4 blood or bone marrow-related complications were observed in nine patients. Other grade 4 adverse events were reported, including: infections related to grade 3 to 4 neutrophil suppression (one patient with two infections); pharyngolaryngeal pain (two patients); and tinnitus, thrombosis, and radiation mucositis (one patient each). The estimated two-year locoregional progression-free interval, distant metastasis-free interval, progression-free survival, and overall survival were 83.7, 90.8, 74.7, and 90.9 percent, respectively, after a median follow-up of 2.5 years.

“The addition of bevacizumab to standard chemoradiation treatment for patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma is feasible,” the authors write.

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