UACC-St. Joseph’s researchers discover potentially groundbreaking ovarian cancer treatment

Big news out of Phoenix, as researchers at The University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix have a breakthrough study appearing in the Feb. 14 edition of the Lancet Oncology.
The researchers discovered that “many women with low-grade serous carcinoma of the ovary or peritoneum have seen their tumors stabilize or shrink after taking a regular dose of the compound selumetinib.”

Ovarian cancer treatment

The findings show that selumetinib targets a mutation in the MAPK pathway for patients with low-grade serous carcinoma, allowing for treatment on previously chemoresistant tumors.
“This is a potentially important breakthrough for the Gynecologic Oncology Group,” said John Farley, MD, a gynecologic oncologist in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Creighton University School of Medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, a Dignity Health Member.
Dr. Farley is part of the University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology with a subspecialty certification in gynecologic oncology. He is the first author on this study.
This study was initially developed in 2007, with 52 patients enrolled for the Phase II clinical trial between December 2007 and November 2009. Patients were given 50 milligrams of selumetinib orally twice daily. Of those participants, eight had a measurable decrease in tumor size, seven had partial responses and 34 patients saw their tumors stabilize. The findings suggest that inhibitors of the MAPK pathway warrant further investigation in patients with low-grade ovarian cancer.
“There just aren’t very good treatments for low-grade ovarian cancer, so this discovery opens up a lot of new exciting possibilities for us,” Dr. Farley said.

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