Encouraging New Treatments on the Horizon for
Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest forms of women's cancers. Only an estimated 44 per cent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will survive for at least five years, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
But Dr. Stephanie Lheureux, Clinician Investigator in the BRAS Drug Development Program and Medical Oncologist and Gynecology Site Leader at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, is encouraged by the progress to better understand ovarian cancer biology and the development of new therapies. Access to clinical trials can provide new treatment options for our patients.
Dr. Lheureux is working on a clinical trial called BioDIVA. It involves extracting tumour tissue and blood samples from patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer at different stages of the disease – at diagnosis, during treatment and following recurrence.
The hope is that researchers can study why a tumour changes, taking into account a patient's unique gene and immune profile, in order to determine the appropriate treatment. There are currently 38 patients enrolled in the trial but they hope to open it more broadly to 250. A similar trial in gynecological cancer called VENUS is also ongoing.
Dr. Lheureux is also the chair of an international prevention trial, called OV.25, that is being conducted in collaboration with the Canadian Cancer Trials Group. The trial will investigate patients known to have a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutation who are at high-risk of developing ovarian cancer. The current standard approach is to offer preventative surgery. This new trial is testing whether taking Aspirin decreases inflammation and precursor cancer lesions in this population.
“If we can show that these ovarian cancer precursor lesions decrease with Aspirin at the time of surgery, it may have a big impact in terms of treatment and prevention of ovarian cancer.”