Ovarian cancer patients could be set to benefit from improved health outcomes as study results reveal that a new drug combination could be twice as effective as the next best treatment.
The findings show that, for those with advanced low-grade serious ovarian cancer, avutometinib and defactinib together led to tumour reductions in almost half (45%) of patients.
This compares with another targeted treatment known as trametinib which has around a 26% response rate, with first-line care like chemotherapy and hormone therapy ranging from 0-14%.
Avutometinib works to block certain proteins that promote cancer growth while defactinib is a type of drug that battles proteins that encourage drug resistance – together, the treatment is four times more effective than just avutometinib alone.
Patients with a particular mutation in a gene called KRAS are also set to benefit, with data showing that six in 10 (60%) of these patients saw significant tumour shrinkage. Almost a third (29%) of the patients without this mutation also elicited promising responses.
“Low grade serous ovarian cancer does not respond well to currently approved treatments, so these results could represent a significant breakthrough in treating the disease,” the study’s global lead investigator, Dr Susana Banerjee, said.
“We are hopeful this drug combination will one day become a standard of care for women with low grade serous ovarian cancer.”
Around one in 10 cases of ovarian cancer is low grade serious ovarian cancer – approximately 700 women in the UK and 80,000 globally are diagnosed with the disease every year.