Controlling Advanced Ovarian Cancer

Advanced ovarian cancer treatment with Votrient may lengthen progression free survival

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) If cancer returns, treatment is often to try and stall its growth. Ovarian cancer is a tough foe, but a new trial has found one medication that may help control the disease.

Advanced ovarian cancer often returns after initial treatment of surgery and chemotherapy.

There’s no way to tell which women are most likely to have a relapse, although 70 percent do. That’s why taking medication to keep the cancer from showing up again may be the best option.

In a recent study, Votrient (pazopanib) helped women with advanced ovarian cancer halt the disease for almost six months compared to a sugar pill (placebo).

"Ask your oncologist about the latest medications available for your cancer."

Pazopanib is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ovarian cancer. It’s currently approved to treat other cancers.

This medicine, which is taken orally, works by hindering the cancer’s growth.

A total of 940 previously treated patients with advanced (stage III or IV) ovarian cancer and other gynecologic cancer patients were randomly assigned to take either pazopanib or a placebo.

The women were followed for two years.

The researchers found that women taking pazopanib lived about 18 months before seeing the cancer get worse (progression-free survival), compared to 12.3 months for those taking a placebo.

Overall survival information was not yet ready for assessment at this time.

"If pazopanib is approved for ovarian cancer, many patients will experience longer disease-free and chemotherapy-free periods,” study leader Andreas du Bois, MD, a professor of gynecologic oncology at Kliniken Essen Mitte in Essen, Germany, said in a news release. “During this time, the patient keeps control over the disease instead of the disease having control over patient‘s life.”

No ovarian cancer maintenance control medications are currently approved in the United States.

Votrient, which is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is already approved by the FDA for treatment of kidney cancer and soft tissue sarcoma in patients who have received cancer treatment.

A GSK spokesperson, Anna Padula, told dailyRx News, "GSK is developing our regulatory strategy and will begin worldwide submissions in the coming months." 

A 30-day supply of the medication costs just under $2,000.

This study was presented at the 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. All research is considered preliminary before it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

GSK funded this study. Most of the authors involved in the study have financial ties with the company.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 31, 2013
Last Updated:
August 8, 2013