Targeted Therapies Show Encouraging Results in Ovarian Cancer Trials
Ovarian cancer is one of the most lethal types of cancer that affects women. It has a high mortality rate because it is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when the cancer has already metastasized. Surgery is the primary treatment for ovarian cancer, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, the response to these treatments varies from one patient to another. That is why researchers have been looking for targeted therapies that can be tailored to each patient’s unique genetic profile.
Recent clinical trials have shown that targeted therapies can significantly improve the survival rates of ovarian cancer patients. Targeted therapies are designed to attack specific proteins or genes that are responsible for the growth and spread of cancer cells. They are more precise than traditional chemotherapy drugs, which kill both cancerous and healthy cells.
One of the promising targeted therapies for ovarian cancer is PARP inhibitors. Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) is an enzyme that repairs DNA damage. Cancer cells with defects in the BRCA genes depend heavily on PARP to repair their damaged DNA. PARP inhibitors, such as olaparib, block this repair mechanism, causing cancer cells with BRCA mutations to die. Clinical trials have shown that olaparib can significantly improve the progression-free survival (PFS) of ovarian cancer patients with BRCA mutations.
Another targeted therapy is angiogenesis inhibitors, which block the formation of new blood vessels that feed cancer cells. Bevacizumab is an angiogenesis inhibitor that has been shown to improve the PFS of ovarian cancer patients when used in combination with chemotherapy. A recent study showed that adding bevacizumab to front-line chemotherapy improved the overall survival of ovarian cancer patients by 16 months.
Immunotherapy is another type of targeted therapy that stimulates the patient’s immune system to attack cancer cells. A recently approved immunotherapy for ovarian cancer is pembrolizumab, a PD-1 inhibitor. PD-1 is a protein on the surface of T cells that prevents them from attacking cancer cells. Pembrolizumab blocks PD-1, allowing T cells to attack cancer cells. Clinical trials have shown that pembrolizumab can improve the overall survival of ovarian cancer patients with high levels of PD-L1 expression.
In conclusion, targeted therapies are showing promising results in improving the survival rates of ovarian cancer patients. PARP inhibitors, angiogenesis inhibitors, and immunotherapy are some of the targeted therapies that have been approved or are undergoing clinical trials. The future of ovarian cancer treatment lies in personalized medicine, where targeted therapies can be tailored to each patient’s unique genetic profile.