Drug shrinks ovarian tumours in early trial
Study leader Dr Udai Banerji said: “The results we have seen in this trial are very promising. It is rare to see such clear evidence of reproducible responses in these early stages of drug development.
“The beauty of this particular drug is that it is targeted to the cancer cell. This means there are fewer side-effects, making it a kinder treatment for ovarian cancer patients.
“It’s early days of course, but I’m keen to see this treatment assessed in later-stage clinical trials as soon as possible.”
Dr Catherine Pickworth, from Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s encouraging to see this new drug is showing promise as a potential new treatment for ovarian cancer.
“The next steps will be for researchers to test the drug in larger clinical trials to confirm it works and is safe, and to work out which women with ovarian cancer this drug could help.”
Prof Michel Coleman, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, urged caution.
He said: “Shrinkage of tumours is important, but as the authors point out, that is not the same as producing the hoped-for extension of survival for women with ovarian cancer.
“The excitement of the investigators is completely understandable, but one should be cautious about interpreting this result as a breakthrough for ovarian cancer patients until data on longer-term outcomes are available.”
The results of the trial were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago on Saturday.
- The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be vague, and, as a result, the disease is not picked up until the latter stages in around six out of 10 women
- In about one in five cases the diseases isn’t diagnosed until it is incurable
- There were 7,378 new cases of ovarian cancer in the UK in 2014 and more than 4,000 women died from the disease
- Symptoms can include pain in the abdomen or side, a bloated or full feeling and sometimes back pain, constipation or irregular bleeding