Ovarian cancer drugs:

Ovarian cancer is cancer that starts in
the ovaries. The ovaries are the
female reproductive organs that
produce eggs.
There have been no significant new
drugs for ovarian cancer since the mid-
1990s and cancer doctors said Avastin
by Roche could represent a step
forward in managing the disease,
although it is not the only new option
being considered.

An interim analysis of a large
European clinical trial (ICON7) showed
a trend toward better survival for all

The ICON7 trial is still under way.

The trial enrolled 1,528 women with
newly diagnosed ovarian cancer, of
whom 90% had advanced disease.
They were treated over an 18-week
period with a standard chemotherapy
regimen of carboplatin (Paraplatin)
and paclitaxel (Taxol), with or without

Roche's blockbuster drug Avastin
helps women with ovarian cancer live
longer without their disease getting
worse, but its effect peaks at 12
months and then diminishes.
Overall, the drug extends the time
patients live without their disease
getting worse by 1.5 months.
International trials show that Avastin,
made by Roche, already effective
against breast and bowel cancers,
gives women in the late stages of
ovarian cancer an extra six months of
Genentech, a unit of Roche, said the
trial met its goal of improving
progression-free survival. That is the
amount of time patients lived after the
start of treatment before they died or
their cancer started to advance again.
It did not say how much difference
Avastin made.

The late stage study compared a
combination of Avastin and
chemotherapy with chemotherapy
alone. The company said 1,528
women were enrolled in the trial.
Genentech said the patients who were
treated with Avastin received six cycles
of Avastin and chemotherapy, followed
by continued use of Avastin alone for
up to 18 cycles, or 12 months.

A single cycle of Avastin is one dose
every three weeks.

AMG 386, combined with paclitaxel,
demonstrated antitumor activity in a
randomized Phase 2 trial involving 161
patients with recurrent ovarian cancer.
Based in part on these results, the
Company is initiating the TRINOVA-1
study, a Phase 3 randomized, double
blind trial evaluating AMG 386
administered in combination with
weekly paclitaxel as treatment for
ovarian, primary peritoneal, and
fallopian tube cancers.

Olaparib made by AstraZeneca is in
trials for patients with mutations in the
BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
This drug  could shrink inherited
breast and ovarian cancers.
Olaparib  targets cancer cells caused
by faulty genes and that researchers
have found it could shrink tumors in
40% of advanced breast cancer
patients and in a third of those with
advanced ovarian cancer.

The  report is based on two small
phase 2 studies.  Both studies
demonstrate tumors responded to both
a 400mg twice-daily dose and a 100mg
daily dose, given for 24 weeks. There
were some side effects associated with
treatment, mainly nausea and fatigue.

This is promising research, but is at an
early stage and the drug’s
effectiveness will need to be proven in
larger, longer trials. These trials will
need to compare the effects of the new
treatment with other currently available
drugs and to no treatment, and
monitor important outcomes, such as
overall survival.

These studies were carried out by
researchers from King’s College
London, the Samuel Oschin Cancer
Institute in Los Angeles, the Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New
York, and other academic and medical
institutions across the world.

Reolysin from  Oncolytics Biotech Inc is
now in Phase II trials for several cancer
At London's Institute of Cancer
Research, UK, in Phase 1 trials, most
patients who had a range of advanced
cancers - including lung, bowel,
ovarian and skin cancer - that had
stopped responding to traditional
therapies, saw their tumors either
shrink or stop growing.
Reolysin is based on a virus called
Reovirus and is being used in studies
to treat and possibly cure ovarian
cancer. This virus vaccine is designed
to "turn off" the uncontrolled tumor cell
growth in the Ras Pathway.
The cells in our bodies have a natural
antiviral mechanism to fight off a virus.
When the Ras Pathway is turned on,
the antiviral activity is turned off. The
way the vaccine will work is that
because it is a virus, the patient will be
purposefully injected with it. When the
antiviral activity is turned off, as in
cancer cells, the virus will grow in
these cancer cells, divide, and kill the
cells in about three days. It does not
affect the healthy cells that can fight
off the virus on their own. As the
unhealthy cells die, it infects the
surrounding tissue.
This infection- kill cells- re-infection
cycle will go on usually for about two

In stage I and II trials, the Reolysin
vaccine is being used in combination
with other anti-cancer drugs.
Drugs have side effects that actually
help the virus out. For example, some
chemo drugs change the blood
vessels and make them more
permeable for the virus to get into the
Currently, the trial participants go to
the Ohio State University Hospital as
outpatients to receive the vaccine
treatment. It is intravenous and takes
about 45 minutes to infuse. It is a daily
Monday-Friday cycle, then off for three
weeks, then Monday-Friday, then off
for three weeks. This is co-ordinated
with other drugs depending on the
drug's cycle. The patient needs some
recovery time due to side effects.
Stage III trials are to begin soon.