From mainland China comes reports that a combination of drugs, apatinib and etoposide, are showing very promising results in treating platinum-resistant or – refractory ovarian cancer.
With a high mortality rate and increased risk of recurrence, ovarian cancer is one of the most feared malignancies of the 21st century. It is estimated that more than 22.000 women will be affected in the United States alone, and almost 60 percent of cases will result in death.
There is some good news coming from China, where clinical trials on patients treated with oral apatinib alongside etoposide displayed some encouraging results. As a small-molecule TKI known to selectively inhibit VEGFR-2, apatinib (YN968D1) had presented previous antitumor properties.
In phase 2 of the study, from a total of 29 patients that were treated with just apatinib, 41.4% had an objective response and a median PFS of 5.1 months.
Another group of 35 women was started on 500mg oral apatinib daily doses and 50 mg oral etoposide for the first two weeks in a 21-day cycle, for a maximum of six cycles. 61% of those had an objective response and the median PFS rose to 8.1 months.
The most common adverse effects noted were neutropenia (50%), fatigue (32%), anemia (29%) and mucositis (24%).
The conclusion was that the study “shows promising efficacy and manageable toxicities in patients with platinum-resistant or platinum-refractory ovarian cancer, and further study in phase 3 trials is warranted.”
The difference might not seem much, and it is true that a treatment is still years away from becoming available on the market, but these incremental advances are paving the way towards a more efficient and comprehensive course of therapy that will help millions of people worldwide.