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New Drug Combination Shows Promising Results in Ovarian Cancer Trial

05 June 2023


In a significant breakthrough for low grade serous ovarian cancer, a new drug combination has demonstrated the ability to shrink tumours in nearly half of the patients involved in a recent clinical trial. 

The trial, led by the Royal Marsden and the Institute of Cancer Research in London, United Kingdom, has shown promising interim results for women with low-grade serous ovarian cancer, a type of epithelial cancer that primarily affects younger women and is known for its resistance to current treatment options.

 The phase 2 trial tested the drug avutometinib alone and in combination with defactinib on 29 patients. Both drugs are designed to block signals that encourage cancer cells to grow. The interim results showed the combination treatment proved highly effective, with 45 percent of patients experiencing significant tumour shrinkage. This result is nearly twice as effective as the next best treatment option, trametinib, which achieved a response rate of 26 percent.

 The trial revealed that the drug combination worked particularly well for patients with KRAS-driven ovarian tumours, a subgroup representing around 60 percent of women in the study. KRAS-driven ovarian tumours refer to a specific type of ovarian cancer where the activity of the KRAS gene is altered or mutated, leading to the development and progression of the tumour.  The combination treatment showed promise even for those without the KRAS mutation, benefiting 29 percent of patients.

 Dr. Susana Banerjee, the global lead investigator of the study and a consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden, expressed excitement over the findings, describing them as a "significant breakthrough." She remarked, "These initial results could be fantastic news for women with low-grade serous ovarian cancer, indicating a far more effective option than current treatments." 

OCA previously reported phase 1 of the trial, the FRAME trial, in 2021. The mentioned VS-6766 is now known as avutometinib.