Stephenson Cancer Center leads groundbreaking ovarian cancer study

Published: Friday, November 2, 2018 By: Staff Reports
before their ovarian cancer recurred. But the surprise came in the women who had been assigned to take olaparib - and the good news was even better than imagined.

"For the women who received olaparib, their average survival without disease has not even been met yet," Moore said. "With at least three years of follow-up for every patient enrolled, we haven't even reached the point where half of the women receiving olaparib have seen their cancer recur. That is a much more marked effect than we were expecting."

Because of that success, study leaders estimate that olaparib reduces the risk of cancer recurrence by 70 percent in women with advanced-stage ovarian cancer who have a BRCA mutation.

A secondary finding of the trial was also encouraging: Among the women whose ovarian cancer did recur, their second treatment with chemotherapy was successful and was not affected by having taken olaparib. That provides further reassurance that olaparib is best used following first-line therapy as opposed to later lines of therapy.

"This is truly a landmark trial in gynecological cancer," Moore said. "The results of the study will lead to changes in the way we treat women with ovarian cancer."

She also pointed to the selflessness of women who agreed to enroll in the trial not knowing whether they would receive the drug or the placebo. They did so knowing that their participation would improve doctors' ability to improve cancer treatment in the future.

As part of the OU Medicine academic medical center, Stephenson Cancer Center is dedicated to conducting clinical trials that give patients access to cutting-edge treatments. The center's recent designation as a National Cancer Institute facility expands that ability. Every physician at the Stephenson Cancer Center is also a scientist who has chosen the academic setting because it allows them to pursue research that may lead to better cancer treatments.

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