Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 145, Issue 1, pp 57–63 | Cite as

Evaluation of toxicity of carmustine with or without bevacizumab in patients with recurrent or progressive high grade gliomas

  • Prakirthi YerramEmail author
  • Samantha N. Reiss
  • Lisa Modelevsky
  • Igor T. Gavrilovic
  • Thomas Kaley
Clinical Study



An increased incidence in hematologic toxicity has been reported with the addition of bevacizumab to lomustine for patients with recurrent or progressive high grade gliomas (HGG). Data regarding incidence of toxicity with combination bevacizumab and carmustine is limited. The purpose of this study is to compare toxicity of single agent carmustine and carmustine plus bevacizumab for patients with HGGs.


This single center retrospective study at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center included pathologically confirmed HGG with age ≥ 18 years who received carmustine between January 2003 and May 2017.


Sixty-five patients with HGGs collectively received 110 doses of BCNU during the specified time period. Sixteen patients received single agent BCNU (30 doses); 49 patients received combination bevacizumab with BCNU (80 doses). There was no significant difference in incidence or grade of toxicity between single agent and combination therapy with respect to hepatotoxicity, leukopenia, lymphopenia, neutropenia, anemia, and thrombocytopenia. Rates of grade 3 and 4 neutropenia (20% vs 13.8%, p = 0.55) and thrombocytopenia (23.3% vs 23.8%, p = 1) did not differ between single agent BCNU versus combination therapy. When stratified based on dose ( < 150 mg/m2, 150 mg/m2, > 150 mg/m2), there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups with respect to grade 3 and 4 neutropenia or thrombocytopenia.


This is the first study to report the toxicity of carmustine with or without bevacizumab for the treatment of recurrent and refractory HGG. The addition of bevacizumab to carmustine did not increase incidence or grade of hematologic toxicity when compared to single agent carmustine.


High grade glioma Carmustine BCNU Nitrosurea Bevacizumab Glioblastoma 


Author contributions

All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection, and analysis were performed by PY and SNR. The first draft of the manuscript was written by PY and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This research was funded in part through the NIH/NCI Cancer Center Support Grant P30 CA008748.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PharmacyMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA

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