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Orphan drugs in glioblastoma multiforme: a review

Authors Lassen U, Mau-Sørensen M, Poulsen HS

Received 28 June 2014

Accepted for publication 31 July 2014

Published 14 November 2014 Volume 2014:4 Pages 83—91


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lise Aagaard

Ulrik Lassen, Morten Mau-Sørensen, Hans Skovgaard Poulsen

Department of Oncology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and deadly brain tumor in adults. The incidence of GBM in the USA and Europe is 2–3 per 100,000. By definition, an orphan disease affects up to 200,000 persons in the USA (one in every 1,500). A search was made in the US Food and Drug Administration orphan drug listing. In addition, a PubMed search of orphan drugs designated for GBM or high-grade glioma was performed, followed by a search for clinical studies in GBM with orphan drugs designated for other indications. This included cytotoxic chemotherapy and targeted agents. Thirteen drugs with orphan designation for the treatment of glioblastoma, high-grade glioma, or primary malignant brain tumors were identified. In addition, 16 drugs with orphan designation for other indications were identified to have been evaluated in clinical studies of GBM. The efficacy data from the clinical studies is presented. A few agents have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of high-grade gliomas following orphan drug designation, but most have failed to reach the market. However, a few patients may have benefited from receiving developmental agents within clinical trials. Biomarkers for selection of these patients may result in more success in the field of personalized medicine.

Keywords: orphan drugs, glioblastoma multiforme, brain tumor, targeted therapy, cytotoxic therapy

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