During the Society of Gynecological Oncology 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer, researchers presented data from the Phase 2 OVARIO clinical trial. According to Cancer Network, the trial evaluated niraparib and bevacizumab in previously treated patients with advanced ovarian cancer. The patients had previously been treated using bevacizumab alongside frontline platinum-based chemotherapy. Ultimately, researchers determined that this drug combination prevents disease progression.
Niraparib and Bevacizumab
- 90% (95 patients) had no cancer progression during a 6-month follow-up period. By 1 year, this dropped to about 75% (79 patients). Within 18 months, 62% (65 patients) had no cancer progression.
- 99% (104 patients) experienced some sort of adverse reaction. Ultimately, 27% (28 patients) dropped out of the study because of these. Side effects and adverse reactions included:
- Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
- Neutropenia (low white blood cell count)
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- High blood pressure
- Proteinuria (excess protein in the urine)
- Those in the trial were also split up into 3 groups: HRd, HRp, and HRnd. These correlated with specific biomarkers. Those in the homologous recombination deficient (HRd) group had the highest level of response after 18 months.
Researchers are not exactly sure what causes ovarian cancer, which forms in a woman’s ovary. Ovaries are found on each side of the uterus; they store eggs and produce estrogen and progesterone, two hormones. However, women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations are anywhere from 10-30x more likely to develop ovarian cancer. With BRCA1-related cancer, it typically appears earlier in one’s life. For BRCA2-mutated cancer, it usually appears after menopause.
There are four forms of ovarian cancer. First, epithelial tumors make up around 90% of ovarian cancer diagnoses and form in the thin layer of tissue covering the ovaries. Next, germ cell carcinoma tumors begin in cells that form the eggs. These tumors account for around 5% of diagnoses. Then comes stromal carcinoma tumors, which also account for around 5% of diagnoses. In these tumors, the ovarian cancer develops in the connective tissues which produce hormones and hold the ovary together. Finally, small cell carcinoma of the ovary (SCCO) is a rare and highly malignant tumor making up just 0.1% of diagnoses. It is possible for the cancer to metastasize, and it may move to the bladder or abdominal lining, bowel, lymph nodes, lungs, or liver.
In stage 1 of ovarian cancer, cancer can be found in one or both ovaries. By stage 2 it has spread to the pelvis and by stage 3, to the abdomen. In stage 4, cancer has spread throughout the body. Symptoms, which may not appear until later stages, include:
- Appetite loss
- Abdominal swelling
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Changes in urinary urgency or frequency
- Abnormal vaginal secretions or uterine bleeding
- Breast tenderness
- Endometrial hyperplasia (thickening of the uterus that causes bleeding)
- Menstrual irregularities
- Unintended weight loss
- Abdominal mass
Learn more about ovarian cancer.