According to an article recently published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology, the chemotherapy regimen consisting of Gemzar® (gemcitabine) plus Paraplatin® (carboplatin) followed by Taxol® (paclitaxel) plus Paraplatin® provides progression-free survival of over one year and is reasonably well tolerated in the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death among women in the U.S.; according to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 22,220 new cases were diagnosed in 2005.
Over the past 10 years, platinum-based chemotherapy regimens (regimens containing carboplatin or cisplatin) have become the mainstay of treatment for women with advanced ovarian cancer. Most commonly, the chemotherapy regimen containing a platinum plus paclitaxel is used for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer.
Advanced ovarian cancer refers to cancer that has spread from the ovary to several or distant sites in the body. Unfortunately, long-term survival remains poor for patients with this disease. Researchers therefore continue to evaluate new regimens and combinations of chemotherapy agents for ovarian cancer.
Researchers from Finland recently conducted a clinical trial evaluating the treatment regimen consisting of Gemzar/Paraplatin followed by Taxol/Paraplatin as initial therapy in advanced (stages III-IV) ovarian cancer. This trial included 47 patients who underwent surgery followed by chemotherapy. The following results were achieved:
- Anticancer responses (partial or complete disappearance of cancer) were achieved in 92% of patients.
- Median progression-free survival was 12.8 months.
- At a median follow-up of 19 months, median overall survival has not yet been reached.
- Low levels of immune cells (neutropenia) were a common side effect; however, the researchers stated that the neutropenia was manageable.
The researchers concluded that treatment consisting of Gemzar/Paraplatin followed by Taxol/Paraplatin following surgery provides favorable outcomes with manageable side effects in patients with advanced ovarian cancer. Future clinical trials directly comparing this treatment approach to other chemotherapy regimens will help determine how it will be used in the clinical setting.
Reference: Maenpaa J, Grenman S, Jalkanen J, et al. Sequential gemcitabine–carboplatin followed by paclitaxel–carboplatin in the first-line treatment of advanced ovarian cancer: A phase II study. Gynecologic Oncology. 2006; 101: 114-119.