Treatments licensed for other illnesses

Research is sometimes carried out to see if treatments licensed for a particular illness may be beneficial in treating different illnesses. You should never start taking a new medication without discussing it with your healthcare team first.

NICE does not recommend these medicines for the treatment of brain tumours. Before trying any new medications or treatments you should discuss your plans with your healthcare team.

Afatinib (Giotrif®)

Afatinib is a targeted lung cancer treatment drug, find out more about a current clinical trial for glioblastoma patients.


Liquid aspirin can cross the blood brain barrier. Scientists believe it has potential to be used in brain tumour treatment.

Bevacizumab (Avastin®)

Bevacizumab is not licensed for use in brain tumours but is being used in some clinical trials.

Celecoxib (Celebrex®)

Celecoxib is a type of drug known as “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs" used to reduce inflammation and temperature.


Discover why the use of this anti-depressant drug in treating brain tumours is much debated.

Depatuxizumab Mafodotin

Read our research news on the results of a phase 3 clinical trial for patients with a relapsed glioblastoma.

Isotretinoin (Roaccutune® / Rizuderm®)

There has been some research into whether acne drug Isotretinoin or Roaccutane® could benefit cancer patients.

Lapatinib (Tyverb®)

Lapatinib is a drug used for targeted therapy in women with breast cancer that has spread to another part of the body.

Levetiracetam (Keppra®)

Levetiracetam is used to treat epilepsy. There has been research to see if it can increase the effectiveness of temozolmide.

Losartan (Cozar®)

There are trials to see if losartan could improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy in patients with pancreatic cancer.


Research has shown that metformin is able to help improve memory in a study of children who had received radiotherapy.

PDE5 inhibitors

It is believed PDE5 inhibitors such as sildenafil and tadalafil may help other drugs cross the blood brain barrier.

Tasadenoturev (DNX-2401)

Our research team report on the results of a phase 1 clinical trial in children with DIPG.

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