Cancer cells

New treatment combo could lead to ovarian cancer breakthrough, study results show

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.

The RAMP-201 trial, which is a follow-up to the FRAME study, was conducted by the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the Institute of Cancer Research, London.

“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.

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NHE May/June 2024

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