09:51am Friday 21 February 2020

Clinical study provides hope for women with ovarian cancer

VANCOUVER – Clinicians at the BC Cancer Agency released promising clinical trial results in treating women with high-grade serous ovarian cancer with PARP inhibitors.

For the first time, scientists and clinicians were able to reduce tumour size in both BRCA positive patients and patients without the germline genetic mutation related to breast and ovarian cancer.

The findings, published in The Lancet Oncology, highlight the potential for future clinical studies in treating women with high grade serous ovarian cancer with Olaparib.

“Olaparib represents a promising therapeutic option for patients with this aggressive malignant disease for whom treatment options are limited and often involve toxic chemotherapies,” says Dr. Karen Gelmon, medical oncologist with the BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority.

The study looked at 92 patients; 65 with ovarian cancer and 26 with breast cancer over a 14 month period.

Among women with ovarian cancer, 41 per cent with hereditary tumours showed a substantial shrinkage in the size of their tumours compared with 24 per cent of patients with non-hereditary tumours. This is a substantial number responding as these women had aggressive advanced previously treated cancers.

“New treatments targeting DNA repair mechanisms seem to provide new hope for treatment of ovarian cancer,” continues Dr. Gelmon.

The findings are important as clinicians seek answers for more effective treatment options for patients with non-hereditary forms of ovarian cancer.

Each year approximately, 2,500 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed annually affecting up to 1 in 70 Canadian women. High-grade serous carcinoma is the most common form of ovarian cancer, accounting for 70 per cent of diagnosis and 90 per cent of advanced stage ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is often referred to as a ‘silent killer’ due to the few early symptoms—most women are diagnosed at a later stage when the disease has spread.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Allison Colina Communications Specialist 604-707-5934 Allison.Colina@bccancer.bc.ca

The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. For more information, visit www.bccancer.ca.

The BC Cancer Foundation is the bridge that connects philanthropic support and research breakthroughs in cancer knowledge. As the fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency and the largest charitable funder of cancer research in this province, we enable donors to make contributions to leading-edge research that has a direct impact on improvements to cancer care for patients in British Columbia. We fund with the goal of finding solutions. As an independent charitable organization, we raise funds exclusively for the BC Cancer Agency that support innovative cancer research and compassionate enhancements to patient care. Visit www.bccancerfoundation.com to make a donation or to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.

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