LivingThey manage to extend the survival of advanced ovarian...

They manage to extend the survival of advanced ovarian cancer

A new drug for patients with advanced ovarian cancer, olaparib, has managed, for the first time, to keep more than 50% of the women included in a study free of disease progression – for up to three years – the Vall d’Hebron hospital in Barcelona participated. As pointed out in a press release by this world-renowned healthcare park, which has presented its research at the European Congress of Oncology ESMO 2018, these are “unprecedented results”.

This clinical analysis has compared oral administration of olaparib with placebo in the 391 patients who have participated in it for a mean of 41 months. The study, carried out by centers in several countries and led by Kathleen Moore of the Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma (USA), shows that olaparib was able to reduce the risk of disease progression by up to 70% and keep more than 50% of patients progression-free for more than 3 years.

More than 3,200 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and, despite not being the most frequent tumor, it is one of those with the worst prognosis , since there are no population screening methods and it is diagnosed in 80% of cases in advanced stages, which significantly affects the prognosis and evolution of the disease. It should be noted that in up to 20% of cases, patients diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer –which appears in the tissue that lines the outside of the ovary and is the most common of ovarian tumors– carry a mutation in BRCA1 / 2 genes.

The standard treatment for those patients in whom high-grade ovarian cancer is detected, usually stage III or IV, consists of cytoreductive surgery – which aims to eliminate as much tumor as possible – and chemotherapy treatment. Despite the fact that the majority of patients initially present a positive response to said treatment, 70-80% of these women will present a relapse of the disease within three years after diagnosis .

Objective: reduce the risk of relapse

And it is due to this high risk of recurrence that patients present that having a maintenance treatment that is capable of reducing the risk of relapse represents a paradigm shift in the treatment and prognosis of women with advanced ovarian cancer carrying mutations. in the BRCA1 / 2 genes.

“The fact of being able to offer our patients with epithelial ovarian cancer carriers of a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes a maintenance treatment with the PARP inhibitor olaparib after their initial treatment with surgery and chemotherapy, which can keep them progression-free during more than 3 years, constitutes an unprecedented milestone. The relapse of the disease is always devastating for the patients, therefore the fact of being able to avoid it or delay it up to 3 years from the end of the initial treatment is a great step forward for our patients ”, says Dr. Ana Oaknin, of the Group of Gynecological Neoplasms of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) and co-author of this study.

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