2011 NCCN Conference: New Treatment Options Lead to Steady Progress Against Ovarian Cancer

Recommendations stemming from recent clinical trials highlight notable updates to the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines™) for Ovarian Cancer at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) 16th Annual Conference.

Robert J. Morgan, Jr., M.D., Professor of Medical Oncology, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center; Chair, NCCN Guidelines Panel for Ovarian Cancer

Although finding effective screening tools remains a priority, new treatment options for women with ovarian cancer, such as the ones outlined in the updated NCCN Guidelines for Ovarian Cancer,[1] are vital to making steady progress against the disease according to Robert J. Morgan, Jr., M.D., of City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center and chair of the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Ovarian Cancer. Dr. Morgan outlined significant updates to the NCCN Guidelines during a recent presentation at the NCCN 16th Annual Conference.

The NCCN Guidelines address epithelial ovarian cancer (including borderline or low malignant potential) and less common histopathologies, including malignant germ neoplasms, carcinosarcomas, and sex cord-stromal tumors. They also discuss fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer, which are less common neoplasms that are managed in a similar manner to epithelial ovarian cancer.

“Regardless of the type of cancer, the NCCN Guidelines for Ovarian Cancer reflect the importance of stage and grade of disease on prognosis and treatment recommendations,” said Dr. Morgan.

The NCCN Guidelines continue to recommend that women with borderline epithelial ovarian cancer of low malignant potential be primarily surgically managed. In contrast to patients with frankly invasive ovarian carcinoma, women with borderline disease tend to be younger and are often diagnosed with stage I disease.

“The benefits of postoperative chemotherapy has not been demonstrated for patients who have no microscopically demonstrable invasive implants, said Dr. Morgan. “Even patients with advanced stage disease at presentation have an excellent prognosis and chemotherapy should be avoided.”

The NCCN Guidelines recommend surgery limited to a unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (USO) (preserving the uterus and contralateral ovary) for women who wish to maintain their fertility, and standard ovarian cancer debulking surgery is recommended for those not concerned about fertility preservation.

On the contrary, in women diagnosed with stage II, III, or IV epithelial ovarian cancer, the NCCN Guidelines recommend intraperitoneal chemotherapy for first-line therapy and have been updated to include dose-dense paclitaxel (Taxol®:, Bristol-Myers Squibb) as a possible treatment option.

Dr. Morgan noted that in a recent clinical trial, dose-dense weekly paclitaxel with carboplatin (Paraplatin®:, Bristol-Myers Squibb) showed an increase in both progression-free survival and overall survival when compared with conventional intraperitoneal chemotherapy of weekly carboplatin/paclitaxel.[2]

“However, the dose-dense regimen is more toxic, and patients discontinued dose-dense paclitaxel therapy more often than those receiving standard therapy,” stated Dr. Morgan. “As with all treatment decisions, the patient needs to weigh the potential benefits and risks and discuss them thoroughly with their physician.”

Dr. Morgan discussed two additional phase 3 trials assessing bevacizumab (Avastin®:, Genentech/Roche) combined with carboplatin/paclitaxel in the upfront setting compared to carboplatin/paclitaxel alone.[3-4] Although data regarding overall survival and quality of life have not been reported yet, the studies did indicate that the median progression-free survival increased in patients receiving bevacizumab as a first line and maintenance therapy.

“Only modest improvements in progression-free survival were observed in both of these trials. The NCCN Guidelines Panel prefers to await mature results of these trials prior to recommending the routine addition of bevacizumab to carboplatin/paclitaxel,” said Dr. Morgan.

As such, the updated NCCN Guidelines includes new language detailing the Panel’s view on bevacizumab encouraging participation in ongoing clinical trials that are further investigating the role of anti-angiogenesis agents in the treatment of ovarian cancer, both in the upfront and recurrence settings.

Biomarkers continue to emerge as an area of interest in predicting future patterns of the disease. In patients with ovarian cancer, Dr. Morgan discussed the value of monitoring CA-125 levels in regards to a recent study[5] comparing early versus delayed treatment of relapsed ovarian cancer.

“Often, levels of CA-125 have been shown to rise prior to a clinical or symptomatic relapse in women with ovarian cancer. This trial looked at whether there was a benefit of early treatment on the basis of increased CA-125 concentrations compared with delayed treatment on the basis of clinical recurrence,” said Dr. Morgan.

The study, which was published in The Lancet, found that there was no survival benefit to early institution of treatment based on increased CA-125 levels and that the quality of life was superior in patients in the late treatment arm.

“The results of the trial suggest that the utility of the routine monitoring of CA-125 levels in limited,” said Dr. Morgan. “The NCCN Guidelines Panel encourages patients and their physicians to actively discuss the pros and cons of CA-125 monitoring based upon these findings and have updated the NCCN Guidelines to include language supporting this recommendation.”

Virtually all drugs used in oncology have the potential to cause adverse drug reactions while being infused, which can be classified as either infusion or allergic reactions. Recently, hypersensitivity to platinum compounds has been recognized as a potential issue for patients being administered these compounds.

“Platinum compounds remain very important in the treatment of ovarian cancer in both the upfront and recurrence settings, so it was important to design strategies to allow for the safe desensitization of these agents in patients who develop allergies,” said Dr. Morgan.

Standard desensitization regimens include slowly increasing infusion concentrations over several hours. However, Dr. Morgan noted that these procedures must be done in a specific manner in order to be safely administered and pointed to the recommendations within the updated NCCN Guidelines discussing the management of drug reactions.

In conclusion, Dr. Morgan emphasized that although steady progress is being made in the treatment of ovarian cancer, further trials are necessary to investigate the role of targeted agents alone and in combination in newly diagnosed and recurrent ovarian cancer. In addition, enrollment of patients with ovarian cancer must be encouraged.

The NCCN Guidelines are developed and updated through an evidence-based process with explicit review of the scientific evidence integrated with expert judgment by multidisciplinary panels of expert physicians from NCCN Member Institutions. The most recent version of this and all NCCN Guidelines are available free of charge at NCCN.org. The NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Ovarian Cancer is available at NCCN.com.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 21 of the world’s leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. For more information, visit NCCN.org.

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center
  • Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center / Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
  • Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
  • The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital / University of Tennessee Cancer Institute
  • Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UNMC Eppley Cancer Center at The Nebraska Medical Center
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

References:

1/ Ovarian Cancer Including Fallopian Tube Cancer & Primary Peritoneal Cancer, Version 2.2011, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines™), National Comprehensive Cancer Network. [PDF Adobe Reader Document – requires free registration and log-in at NCCN.org]

2/ Katsumata N, Yasuda M, Takahashi F, et. alJapanese Gynecologic Oncology Group. Dose-dense paclitaxel once a week in combination with carboplatin every 3 weeks for advanced ovarian cancer: a phase 3, open-label, randomised controlled trialLancet. 2009 Oct 17;374(9698):1331-8. Epub 2009 Sep 18. PubMed PMID: 19767092.

3/ Burger RA, Brady MF, Bookman MA, et. al.  Phase III trial of bevacizumab in the primary treatment of advanced epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), primary peritoneal cancer (PPC), or fallopian tube cancer (FTC):  a Gynecologic Oncology Group study.  J Clin Oncol 28:18s, 2010 (suppl; abstr LBA1).

4/ Perren T, Swart AM, Pfisterer J, et. alICON7: A phase III randomized gynecologic cancer intergroup trial of concurrent bevacizumab and chemotherapy followed by maintenance bevacizumab, versus chemotherapy alone in women with newly diagnosed epithelial ovarian (EOC), primary peritoneal (PPC), or fallopian tube cancer (FTC).Ann Oncol 21;viii2, 2010 (suppl 8; abstr LBA4).

5/Rustin G, van der Burg M, Griffin C, et. al. Early versus delayed treatment of relapsed ovarian cancer. Lancet. 2011 Jan 29;377(9763):380-1. PubMed PMID: 21277438.

Source:

Additional 2011 NCCN Annual Meeting Information

Young Early-Stage Ovarian Cancer Patients Can Preserve Fertility

A new study finds that young women with early-stage ovarian cancer can preserve future fertility by keeping at least one ovary or the uterus without increasing the risk of dying from the disease. The study is published in the September 15, 2009 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

A new study finds that young women with early-stage ovarian cancer can preserve future fertility by keeping at least one ovary or the uterus without increasing the risk of dying from the disease. The study is published in the September 15, 2009 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

fertility

... “Given the potential reproductive and nonreproductive benefits of ovarian and uterine preservation, the benefits of conservative surgical management should be considered in young women with ovarian cancer” ...

Most cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed at later stages and in older women. However, up to 17 percent of ovarian tumors occur in women 40 years of age or younger, many of whom have early stage disease. Surgery for ovarian cancer usually involves complete removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) and ovaries, which not only results in the loss of fertility, but also subjects young women to the long-term consequences of estrogen deprivation.

Jason Wright

Jason Wright, M.D., Assistant Professor, OB/GYN, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York City, NY

Researchers led by Jason Wright, M.D., of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City conducted a study to examine the safety of fertility-conserving surgery in premenopausal women with ovarian cancer. This type of surgery conserves at least one ovary or the uterus.

The investigators analyzed data from women 50 years of age or younger who were diagnosed with early stage (stage I) ovarian cancer between 1988 and 2004 and who were registered in the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database, a population-based cancer registry that includes approximately 26 percent of the US population. Patients who had both of their ovaries removed were compared with those who had only the cancerous ovary removed. A second analysis examined uterine conservation verus hysterectomy.

For their first analysis, the researchers identified 1,186 ovarian cancer patients. While most had both ovaries removed, about one in three (36 percent) had one ovary conserved. They found those in whom one ovary was saved had similar survival for up to at least five years.

To examine the effect of uterine preservation, the investigators studied a total of 2,911 women. While most of the women underwent hysterectomy, about one in four (23 percent) had uterine preservation. Uterine preservation also had no effect on survival.

Women who were younger, who were diagnosed in more recent years, and who resided in the eastern or western United States were more likely to undergo ovarian or uterine conservation.

These results are promising for the many young women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. An estimated 21,650 women in the United States were diagnosed with the disease in 2008. “Given the potential reproductive and nonreproductive benefits of ovarian and uterine preservation, the benefits of conservative surgical management should be considered in young women with ovarian cancer,” the authors concluded.

Source:  Wright JD, Shah M, Mathew L, et. al.  Fertility preservation in young women with epithelial ovarian cancer. CANCER; Published Online: August 10, 2009 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.24461); Print Issue Date: September 15, 2009.

Comment: The key to this study is the concept that fertility preservation “should be considered in young women with ovarian cancer.”  As part of this consideration, the patient’s subtype of ovarian cancer may play an important role as well.  For example, a diagnosis of ovarian clear cell adenocarcinoma (OCCA) in a young adult woman should create a moment of pause in regard to fertility-sparing. The OCCA subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer can be extremely chemoresistant (even during first-line treatment), especially if the tumor histology indicates that the tumor possesses a dominant clear cell component or is a pure form of OCCA.  In addition, OCCA is a rare form of epithelial ovarian cancer in women worldwide (with the exception of Japanese foreign nationals). My hypothetical does not mean that fertility sparing should not be considered in the event of a OCCA diagnosis, it simply means that each woman should carefully discuss fertility-sparing with her board-certified gynecologic oncologist based upon the specific facts of her case, including tumor histology.

2009 ASCO Annual Meeting Highlights: Ovarian Cancer & Select General Issues

The 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting was held in Orlando, Florida from May 29 through June 2, 2009.  We provide below select highlights from the 2009 ASCO Annual Meeting that relate to ovarian cancer and other general issues.

The 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting was held in Orlando, Florida from May 29 through June 2, 2009.  We provide below select highlights from the 2009 ASCO Annual Meeting that relate to ovarian cancer and other general issues. Learn more about How to Read a Medical Abstract in a Research Study.

Development Time of Cancer Clinical Trials Linked to Accrual Goals.

Physicians Need to Address Prescription Costs With Patients Who Participate In Clinical Trials.

Availability of Experimental Therapy Outside of Randomized Clinical Trials In Oncology.

ASCO Fertility Preservation Guidelines For Cancer Patients Not Widely Followed By Oncologists.

Ginger (Zindol®) Quells Cancer Patients’ Chemotherapy-Related Nausea.

Early Treatment of Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Based Upon Rising CA-125 Levels Does Not Increase Survival.

Body Mass Index (BMI) Should Be Taken Into Account When Assessing A Cancer Patient’s Vitamin D Status.

Extreme Drug Resistance (EDR) Assay Results Do Not Independently Predict Or Alter The Outcomes of Patients With Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Who Are Treated With Optimal Cytoreductive Surgery Followed By Platinum & Taxane Combination Chemotherapy in Either a Primary or Recurrent Setting.

Systematic Review Of Past Study Results For Use of Cytoreductive Surgery Combined With Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC).

Preliminary Results From Phase II Study of Oxaliplatin+Docetaxel+Bevacizumab As First Line Treatment of Advanced Ovarian Cancer Show 62% Overall Response Rate & 70% One-Year Progression Free Survival.

Combined Weekly Docetaxel + Gemcitabine In Relapsed Ovarian Cancer & Peritoneal Cancer Produces 59% Overall Response Rate.

A Phase II Trial of Irinotecan & Oral Etoposide Chemotherapy in Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients Produces 47% Overall Response Rate & 81% Clinical Benefit Rate.

Weekly Bevacizumab & Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin Produce 55% Clinical Benefit Rate In Progressing/Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients.

Phase II Study of Belotecan (CKD-602)+ Carboplatin Demonstrates 53% Overall Response Rate in Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients.

Single Agent Voreloxin Produces 11% Overall Response Rate & 52% Disease Control Rate in Phase II Study Involving Women with Platinum-Resistant Ovarian Cancer.

A Phase II Study of Patupilone In Patients With Platinum Refractory/Resistant Ovarian, Primary Fallopian, or Peritoneal Cancer Produces 48% Clinical Benefit Rate.

Trabectedin (Yondelis®) + Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin (PLD) Produces Better Response Than PLD Alone.

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Finds Anti-VEGF Therapy Is Highly Effective In Patients With Ovarian Granulosa Cell Tumors.

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Finds That Increased Angiogenesis Is A Significant Predictor Of Poor Clinical Outcome In Patients With Sex-Cord Stromal Tumors; Suggests Anti-Angiogenesis Therapy is Warranted For This Subtype of Ovarian Cancer.

ZYBRESTAT™ (Combretastatin A-4 phosphate) Produces 32% Confirmed Partial Response Rate (RR) in Evaluable Patients With Platinum Resistant Ovarian Cancer (25% RR if total enrolled patients used as denominator).

ASSIST-5 Trial of TELCYTA® + Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin Produces 12% Response Rate (With One Complete Response) in Patients With Platinum Refractory and Resistant Ovarian Cancer.

Two Studies Provide Contradictory Data for Use of Carboplatin + Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin in Ovarian Cancer

OGX-427 Treatment Demonstrates Safety, Evidence of Declines in Circulating Tumor Cells and Reductions in Tumor Markers in a Phase I Cancer Trial, Including 60% Response Rate (Based Upon Declining CA125) For Ovarian Cancer Patients.

Maintenance BIBF 1120 Could Delay Disease Progression in Recurrent Ovarian Cancer.

Oral PARP Inhibitor Olaparib (AZD2281) Effective Against BRCA-Deficient Advanced Ovarian Cancer.

Carfilzomib (PX-171-007) Produces Stable Disease For 4+ Months In One Ovarian Cancer Patient Who Failed Under Four Previous Treatment Lines – Phase II Solid Tumor Trial.

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About The American Society of Clinical Oncology

The American Society of Clinical Oncology is a non-profit organization founded in 1964 with the overarching goals of improving cancer care and prevention. More than 27,000 oncology practitioners belong to ASCO, representing all oncology disciplines and subspecialties. Members include physicians and health-care professionals in all levels of the practice of oncology. To view 2009 ASCO Annual Meeting presentation abstracts, click here.  To view 2009 ASCO Annual Meeting presentation abstracts regarding ovarian cancer, click here.  To view ASCO ovarian cancer information, click here.

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Cancer.Net, formerly People Living With Cancer (PLWC), brings the expertise and resources of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the voice of the world’s cancer physicians, to people living with cancer and those who care for and care about them. ASCO is composed of more than 27,000 oncologists globally who are the leaders in advancing cancer care. All the information and content on Cancer.Net was developed and approved by the cancer doctors who are members of ASCO, making Cancer.Net the most up-to-date and trusted resource for cancer information on the Internet. Cancer.Net is made possible by The ASCO Cancer Foundation, which provides support for cutting-edge cancer research, professional education, and patient information.

Cancer.Net provides timely, oncologist-approved information to help patients and families make informed health-care decisions. All content is subject to a formal peer-review process by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, composed of more than 150 medical, surgical, radiation, and pediatric oncologists, oncology nurses, social workers, and patient advocates. In addition, ASCO editorial staff reviews the content for easy readability. Cancer.Net content is reviewed on an annual basis or as needed.

To view Cancer.Net ovarian cancer information, click here.

Learn more about How to Read a Medical Abstract in a Research Study, Cancer.Net.