Patients with advanced ovarian cancer are routinely treated with combination chemotherapy using a platinum compound and paclitaxel. Recent clinical trials support carboplatin substitution for cisplatin in combination with paclitaxel. Carboplatin has fewer side effects, but does not significantly improve a patient’s chance of survival.
In order to improve upon the outcomes achieved with combination chemotherapy utilizing paclitaxel and carboplatin, physicians are evaluating the incorporation of other novel chemotherapy compounds or anti-cancer agents into treatment programs. At the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in March of 1999, physicians from Belgium presented data from a clinical program incorporating a novel chemotherapy agent gemcitabine (Gemzar®) into a treatment strategy utilizing carboplatin and paclitaxel.
Twenty-four patients with advanced stage epithelial ovarian cancer were treated with the 3-drug combination. Fourteen patients experienced complete disappearance of their cancer with another 10 patients experiencing partial disappearance of their cancer. This overall response rate of 100% with this 3-drug combination is very encouraging. Moreover, the therapy is well tolerated with minimal side effects consisting chiefly of bone marrow toxicity. Doctors concluded that this new 3-drug chemotherapy regimen was feasible and additional clinical studies will be ongoing to determine whether these response rates are sustainable and translate into an improvement in overall survival.
(American Society of Clinical Oncology, Vol 18, Abstract 1379, 1999)