Washington: Researchers have discovered that a drug named niraparib, can prove beneficial for women newly diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer.
The study demonstrates that administering niraparib after conventional chemotherapy treatment in newly diagnosed patients, improves their progression-free survival, and reduces their risk of relapse or death from this disease.
The study published in New England Journal of Medicine shows that administering niraparib reduces risk of relapse or death from this disease by nearly 40 per cent.
"We evaluated the benefits of using niraparib after standard treatment of ovarian cancer based on chemotherapy after surgery. With this new therapeutic approach we have observed a significant improvement in patient progression-free survival and a reduction of almost 40 per cent of their risk of relapse," said first author Dr Antonio Gonzalez Martin, Clinica Universidad Navarra and president of the Spanish Ovarian Cancer Research group.
Ovarian cancer, diagnosed in around 205,000 women worldwide every year, is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women in Europe.
It is usually diagnosed between 45 and 75 years, although there are a significant number of patients from 30 years. It is the gynecological tumor that causes more deaths because most patients are diagnosed in an advanced stage of the disease, given the absence of early diagnostic techniques.
In turn, up to 80 per cent of those affected by advanced ovarian cancer relapse after treatment with surgery and chemotherapy.
The study presented at the Annual Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Barcelona analyzed 733 newly diagnosed patients with advanced ovarian cancer (with serous histological type, or endometrium of high grade).
The work consisted of adding niraparib after the conventional first-line chemotherapy treatment for these patients after surgery.
Niraparib is a potent PARP inhibitor drug (an enzyme involved in DNA repair and cell death) that is used as maintenance therapy in women with ovarian cancer relapse, whether or not they have mutated the BRCA gene (associated with the risk of suffering from this disease).
In turn, the effect of this treatment was also studied in patients with a type of defect in DNA repair called homologous recombination deficiency (HRD).
In patients who did show this deficiency (half of the women in the study), the benefit of treatment was even more significant, achieving a 57 per cent reduction in the risk of relapse or disease progression.
The safety profile of the drug was similar to that observed in other trials with niraparib.
These findings "suggest considering niraparib as a first option treatment for patients with advanced ovarian cancer after completing first-line chemotherapy," said Dr Gonzalez.