NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Brain Cancer – Gliomas, Version 1.2016
Targeted therapy is a cancer treatment that affects
molecules that are key to cancer cells. It differs from
classic chemotherapy, which affects a wider range of
cells. As such, targeted therapy is less likely to harm
normal cells than chemotherapy.
At this time, only one targeted therapy is advised by
NCCN experts for gliomas. It is briefly described next.
Some side effects are listed. Ask your treatment team
for a full list of common and rare side effects. Parts 3
through 5 address when targeted therapy is an option.
Cancer cells need the food and oxygen in blood to
grow. Cancer cells get blood from blood vessels
that have grown into the tumor. VEGF (
actor) is one of the molecules
that triggers the growth of these blood vessels.
VEGF is made by cancer cells. It travels from cancer
cells to endothelial cells. Endothelial cells form blood
vessels. VEGF attaches to surface receptors on the
outside of endothelial cells. Attachment of VEGF to
surface receptors triggers growth signals.
Bevacizumab attaches to VEGF before it attaches
to receptors on endothelial cells.
See Figure 6
a result, VEGF can’t attach to receptors. No growth
signals caused by VEGF are started.
Bevacizumab is given by infusion. It takes about
90 minutes to get the first dose and 30 minutes
for later doses. It may be received alone or with
chemotherapy to treat some types of gliomas.
Common side effects of bevacizumab are high
blood pressure, diarrhea, and feeling tired and
weak. You might also have nosebleeds, shortness of
breath, and abnormal levels of protein in your urine
(proteinuria). Rare but serious side effects include
stroke, blood clots, heart attack, kidney damage,
holes in the intestine, and bleeding in your body
including your head.
Test and treatment overview
VEGF targeted therapy
Cancer cells need blood to grow.
They send VEGF to endothelial
cells to start the growth of
blood vessels. Bevacizumab
disables VEGF from attaching to
receptors. As a result, VEGF can’t
start cell growth.
Copyright © 2016 National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®).www.nccn.org