Drug combination shows promise in treatment-resistant advanced ovarian cancer
A new combination of targeted drugs for a type of ovarian cancer has shown promising results in an early clinical trial – shrinking tumours in half of patients.
The phase I FRAME trial was led by the Investigator Initiated Trials team within the Drug Development Unit at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research, London.
Dr Susana Banerjee, Consultant Medical Oncologist and Research Lead for The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust Gynaecology Unit and Team Leader in Women’s Cancers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:
“If these findings are confirmed in larger trials, they’ll represent a significant advance in low-grade serous ovarian cancer treatment. I am delighted that this drug combination has worked so well in a group of patients who are in urgent need of new treatments including those who have previously been treated with a MEK inhibitor.
“We’re very hopeful that this could become the standard of care for women with low-grade serous ovarian cancer.”
Professor Kristian Helin, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London said:
“Overcoming cancer’s ability to evolve resistance to treatment is a huge challenge for cancer research. This study has turned a deep understanding of how cancer fuels its growth and develops resistance into a highly targeted treatment for patients who currently have few treatment options.
“Scientists have been working to develop treatments that can effectively target KRAS-driven cancers for decades. It’s fantastic that early trials indicate this treatment is highly effective for this patient group, and that a phase II trial has already begun.”
After experiencing groin pain in 2006, Ruth Joy (64 from West Sussex) was diagnosed with stage 3 low-grade serous ovarian cancer at her local hospital and was referred to The Royal Marsden for treatment, which included surgery and chemotherapy. However, in 2016 a routine scan showed that, unfortunately, the cancer had returned and spread.
Ruth was then treated with letrozole, a hormone therapy, for 18 months and, when the cancer progressed, took part in two clinical trials at the hospital. In May 2020, Ruth relapsed again, and joined the FRAME study two months later. Over a year on, Ruth’s cancer has not worsened, and she has seen some tumour shrinkage. She said:
“Each time my cancer has progressed, I’m so lucky to have been thrown another lifeline by The Royal Marsden. FRAME has given me hope and, while there are some side effects like fatigue, none have been able to stop me living my life. I can’t speak highly enough of the hospital as, because of them, I’m still here today and have had the chance to meet my nine beautiful grandchildren.
“My family including Keith, my husband of three years and partner of 28, have always been so supportive and celebrating our milestones is incredibly important to me. The next is the 18th birthday of my eldest grandchild in 2024, who was born the year I was originally diagnosed, and I’m determined to be around to plan it.”