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No Significant Progress in Ovarian Cancer Patients Treated with Cancer Drug Enzastaurin

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The results of a lengthy scientific study of two groups in the treatment of women with advanced ovarian cancer revealed last week that the addition of enzastaurin to standard chemotherapy did not significantly improve the women’s progression-free survival (PFS).

"An improvement of almost four months in progression-free survival (PFS) did not achieve statistical significance compared with chemotherapy alone," although enzastaurin has demonstrated anticancer activity in some preclinical studies and is being evaluated clinically in a variety of malignancies, according to a June 9, 2011, article by Charles Bankhead of MedPage Today.

Helga Salvesen, MD, PhD, of the University of Bergen in Norway, gave some hope with reference to enzastaurin in retarding the growth of tumors in cancer patients by saying "that therapeutic use of enzastaurin has a sound scientific rationale" and that further studies of patients likely to respond to the use of enzastaurin will be important. The author of the study, Ignace Vergote, MD, PhD, of Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium, said "The response rates were similar for both [the 18- and 24-month] groups, but the number of patients with evaluable tumor was low." Since the data were revealed as an abstract, they will be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

With more than 30 different types of ovarian tumors and sometimes vague symptoms, it’s a difficult disease to diagnose and sometimes easy to miss. According to MD Anderson Cancer Center of The University of Texas, each year, approximately 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Figures from 2009 indicate approximately 16,000 women die of the disease each year. For the 25% of ovarian cancers that are found early, the five-year survival rate is greater than 90%.cancer patients’ life expectancy by up to eight months – the biggest breakthrough in 20 years of its treatment. British researchers found Avastin, which is used to treat breast and bowel cancers, is also effective against ovarian cancer. The disease has been called the silent killer because it often has no symptoms in the early stages and in 80 per cent of cases is not detected until it has spread. Currently, the only treatment is chemotherapy following surgery."

And while it’s back to the drawing board to do more studies on enzastaurin, women with ovarian cancer anxiously look to science for hope for their condition. Ovarian cancer in women remains the most lethal of gynecological malignancies.

Meanwhile, last week, The Times of India reported: "A drug discovery can increase an ovarian

One can only hope.

2 Comments

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    Thanks for this news about Ovarian cancer. My sister suffers from the disease and I try to keep up with new developments. A great resource for women with ovarian cancer is Team Inspire. Here is a link to a recent discussion of a Phase 3 Clinical Trial for Avastin (Bevacizumab): http://www.inspire.com/groups/ovarian-cancer-national-alliance/discussion/genentech-announces-positive-results-of-avastin-phase-iii/

  2. Greg Webb says:
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    Wayne,

    Thank you for the comment on the ovarian cancer blog post. I am sorry to hear about your sister, and I wish her the best, especially the best medical care available. Thank you for the additional information and website.

    Greg Webb