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ESMO 2020: Step forward in treatment for patients with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer

Intermediate magnification micrograph of a low malignant potential (LMP) mucinous ovarian tumour

Image: Intermediate magnification micrograph of an ovarian tumour. Credit: Michael Bonert, CC BY-SA 3.0

Read more news presented at the 2020 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) meeting:

Almost half of patients who received a targeted drug during treatment for newly diagnosed BRCA-mutated advanced ovarian cancer remain disease free after five years, a new study shows.

Patients treated with olaparib, a PARP inhibitor drug that targets inherited genetic faults in tumours, continued to benefit substantially beyond the end of treatment. Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, were the first to discover how olaparib could be targeted at tumours with faults in their ability to repair DNA and led on the development of this PARP inhibitor.

The SOLO-1 trial

The SOLO-1 Phase III trial, led by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, is the first to report long term follow up for patients with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer. Data from the trial was presented by Dr Susana Banerjee at the European Society for Medical Oncology Virtual Congress (ESMO).

The randomised trial tested if patients benefited from taking olaparib for two years of maintenance treatment following standard treatment in comparison to patients who were given placebo. After five years, 48.3 per cent of patients treated with olaparib had not progressed and were still living with stable disease in comparison to 20.5 per cent on placebo.

The results showed that the women treated with olaparib for two years following standard treatment had 56 months where the cancer didn’t progress, compared with 13.8 for those who had standard treatment only.

'A significant step forward'

Dr Susana Banerjee, Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden and Reader at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, one of the investigators of the trial, said:

“These results represent a significant step forward in the treatment of newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer and give us real hope for more long term survivors. Previous research in PARP inhibitors in ovarian cancer has only been in patients with relapsed disease so SOLO-1 has given us the evidence to show that as a first line therapy it can have substantial benefit for patients earlier in the cancer pathway.”

'Findings will benefit patients for years to come'

Preeti Dudakia, 53, was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer six years ago. She had a full abdominal hysterectomy, followed by six cycles of chemotherapy. She said:

“My mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 60 and because of my family history, the team at The Royal Marsden recommended I try the SOLO-1 trial. I had monthly treatment for two years and now I’m in remission. Since my diagnosis there have been some really rapid advances in treatment for ovarian cancer, and clinical trials like SOLO-1 are a crucial part of this. The trial gave me a sense of purpose and I know the findings will benefit patients for years to come.”

Ovarian cancer research at The Royal Marsden is funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, The Lady Garden Foundation and National Institute for Health Research.The SOLO-1 trial was funded by AstraZeneca and MSD.


ovarian cancer olaparib Susana Banerjee ESMO
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