Brain Cancer Treatment

FDA Drug Approvals & Treatment

Very few drugs have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of brain cancer.

Standard of care for the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM) and anaplastic astrocytoma (AA) typically involves surgery, radiation and chemotherapy with an alkylating agent such as temozolomide. Drugs treatments approved for brain cancer include:

  • Temozolomide (Temodar). Temozolomide is FDA approved for the treatment of GBM, and AA. In patients with newly diagnosed GBM, temozolomide provided a median survival advantage of 2.5 months when added to surgery and radiation therapy. Source: Temodar prescribing information.
  • Bevacizumab (Avastin). FDA granted accelerated approval to bevacizumab for the treatment of recurrent GBM. Thus far, no definitive data have demonstrated that bevacizumab improves disease-related symptoms or survival. Source: Avastin prescribing information.
  • Lomustine (CCNU, Ceenu). Lomustine is an anti-cancer chemotherapy that is FDA approved to be used alone or with other drugs to treat recurrent brain cancer. Source: Ceenu prescribing information.
  • Carmustine wafer (BCNU, Gliadel). Gliadel is an alkylating agent that is FDA approved for the treatment of newly diagnosed high-grade-malignant glioma (HGG) as an adjunct to surgery and radiation and recurrent GBM as an adjunct to surgery. In patients with newly diagnosed HGG, Gliadel showed a 2.3 month improvement in survival. Survival improvement was not statistically significant in the subgroup of patients with GBM. In recurrent high grade glioma there was a median survival advantage of about 1.9 months. Survival prolongation was not observed in patients with pathologic diagnoses other than GBM. Source: Gliadel prescribing information.

Tocagen is developing an investigational therapy to treat GBM and AA and is currently recruiting patients into its Phase 2/3 clinical trial, Toca 5. Learn about the Toca 5 trial.

See additional brain cancer resources below: