According to the results of a Phase II clinical trial, the investigational drug farletuzumab may have anticancer activity in the treatment of relapsed ovarian cancer when combined with chemotherapy. These results were presented at a European cancer conference.
Many women treated for ovarian cancer will eventually experience a return (relapse) of their cancer. Outcomes remain poor after treatment of relapsed disease, and researchers continue to explore new approaches to treatment.
Targeted therapies are anticancer drugs that interfere with specific pathways involved in cancer cell growth or survival. Some targeted therapies block growth signals from reaching cancer cells; others reduce the blood supply to cancer cells; and still others stimulate the immune system to recognize and attack the cancer cell. Depending on the specific “target,” targeted therapies may slow cancer cell growth or increase cancer cell death.
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Farletuzumab is an investigational humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody drug that targets a protein known as the folate receptor alpha (FRA). In cancer cells that make too much FRA, farletuzumab may reduce cell proliferation and contribute to cell death.
Farletuzumab ecteribulin is an antibody drug conjugate that combines farletuzumab and eribulin, a microtubule dynamics inhibitor, using an enzymatically cleavable linker that is also being evaluated in advanced ovarian cancer. Initial reports suggest the combination is effective but is associated with lung toxicity.2
Farletuzumab is continuing to undergo evaluation in women with advanced ovarian cancer. Women with advanced disease should discuss the role of this and other clinical trials in the management of their cancer with their treating physician.
- Armstrong DK, Coleman R, White AJ et al. Efficacy and safety of farletuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody to folate receptor alpha, in platinum-sensitive relapsed ovarian cancer subjects: preliminary data from a phase-2 study. Presented at the Joint ECCO 15-34th ESMO Multidisciplinary Congress. Berlin, Germany, September 20-24, 2009. Abstract O-8000.