Advances in ovarian cancer treatment and hope for future developments
We have come a long way in terms of progress in ovarian cancer treatment and providing hope and improved outcomes to many women with this lethal disease.1
For women who are diagnosed at the early stages of the disease, prognosis can be quite optimistic.2 However, often ovarian cancer can manifest with ambiguous symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and gastrointestinal complaints such as persistent bloating and constipation which may be difficult for women to notice.3,4,5 By the time a diagnosis is confirmed, unfortunately most women already have advanced disease, thus limiting treatment options meaning prognosis is poorer.5 This is one of the reasons why ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly of all cancers that affect women.6
The long history of ovarian cancer treatment
The mainstay treatment for ovarian cancer, surgery and chemotherapy, remained largely unchanged for over 40 years.7 The relevant classes of compounds developed in this setting proved vital in extending the life of women diagnosed with advanced disease. However the debilitating adverse effects, resistance to treatment and recurrence of the disease meant that there was great unmet need for women in ovarian cancer for better treatment options.7
The introduction of targeted therapies in the last five years has provided a much needed boost to the post-surgical treatment regime for women diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer.1 Targeted therapies in combination with chemotherapy and/or as monotherapy (depending on the targeted agent) provide significant superior efficacy compared with chemotherapy alone.8,9,10,11 Further research into targeted agents continues to provide evidence for their use in different types of ovarian cancer, reinforcing their status of standard of care.12
What the future holds for people with ovarian cancer
So what’s next for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer? Pipeline breakthroughs and combination therapies are the near-future milestones we expect to see in the treatment of this deadly cancer. The introduction of immunotherapies, and combinations of immunotherapies with other targeted therapies, are also expected to come through in this disease.
As leader in cancer care, we continue on our journey to support women with ovarian cancer.
1. SEER. https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/ovary.html. Last accessed December 2016.
2. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovariancancer/detailedguide/ovarian-cancer-survival-rates. Last accessed December 2016.
3. Foundation for Women’s cancer. http://www.foundationforwomenscancer.org/about-the-foundation/allied-support-group/ovarian-cancer-symptoms-consensus-statement/. Last accessed December 2016.
4. Goff BA, et al. JAMA 2004;291:2705–12.
5. Goff BA, et al. Cancer 2000;89:2068–75.
6. GLOBOCAN. http://globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/fact_sheets_population.aspx. Last accessed December 2016.
7. CancerProgress.net. http://www.cancerprogress.net/timeline/ovarian-cancer. Last accessed December 2016.
8. Roche. Avastin (bevacizumab) Summary of Product Characteristics (2016).
9. Roche. Avastin (bevacizumab) Prescribing Information (2015).
10. AstraZeneca. Lynparza (olaparib) Summary of Product Characteristics (2016).
11. AstraZeneca. Lynparza (olaparib) Prescribing Information (2016)
12. ClinicalTrials.gov. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/home. Last accessed December 2016.