According to an article recently published in Gynecologic Oncology, the chemotherapy combination consisting of Gemzar® (gemcitabine) and Doxil® (pegylated liposomal doxorubicin) is effective for patients with ovarian cancer that has stopped responding to standard therapies.
Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly gynecologic cancers because it tends to be diagnosed at a late stage (once the cancer has spread), making it difficult to cure. Although advanced ovarian cancer (cancer that has spread from the ovary to other sites in the body) may respond to initial therapy, it often recurs (recurrent ovarian cancer).
Patients with recurrent ovarian cancer have unfavorable long-term outcomes with standard treatment approaches. Researchers continue to evaluate new chemotherapy combinations and therapeutic approaches in order to improve the duration of survival and/or quality of life for patients with this disease.
Researchers from Austria recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate Gemzar plus Doxil in patients with ovarian cancer that has stopped responding to prior therapy with a standard platinum chemotherapy agent (Platinol or Paraplatin). This study included 31 patients.
- Anticancer responses occurred in 33% of patients.
- Complete disappearances of detectable cancer occurred in 20% of patients.
- Half of the patients were alive with no cancer progression at nearly four months.
- Half of the patients were alive at nearly 16 months.
- Severe side effects included low levels of immune cells, hand-foot syndrome (redness, pain, scaling of the palms of hands or soles of feet), and ulcers of the mouth lining.
With half of patients treated with Doxil/Gemzar alive at 16 months, researchers concluded that this treatment combination provides anticancer responses for ovarian cancer that has stopped responding to platinum therapy.
Patients with recurrent ovarian cancer may wish to speak with their physician about their individual risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial evaluating novel therapeutic approaches for treatment of their disease. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov) and www.cancerconsultants.com.
Reference: Petru E, Angleitner-Boubenizeka L, Reinthaller A, et al. Combined PEG Liposomal Doxorubicin and Gemcitabine are Active and Have Acceptable Toxicity in Patients with Platinum-Refractory and -Resistant Ovarian Cancer After Previous Platinum-Taxane Therapy: A Phase II Austrian AGO Study. Gynecologic Oncology. 2006; 102:226-229.