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Progress in Hereditary Cancer Treatment Research

February 11, 2013

Recently I participated in the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) semi-annual meeting in San Diego. The GOG is part of the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program, whose role is to promote and support clinical trials for cancers. As one of the members of the Patient Advocacy Committee of GOG I participate by providing the consumer perspective and input into the research, assisting with clinical trial recruitment efforts, and disseminating the information from GOG research back to the community.

At the meeting, a research update on the study GOG 280 gave me great hope for better options for our community. I learned that this phase II study examining the PARP inhibitor Veliparib (Abbvie) to treat ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancer met its enrollment goals. This means that researchers successfully recruited all the study volunteers they needed to determine the safety and explore the efficacy of the drug for treating women with ovarian-type cancers.

Women in the study received oral Veliparib as a “single agent,” which means that the study did not combine the drug with chemotherapy. This study was open only to women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations who had been diagnosed with ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer that had recurred after treatment.

This study was phase II: it was a very small, with only about 50 participants. We expect a report of the study results at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago this spring. We are hopeful that the results will be positive and will pave the way for a larger, phase III Veliparib study that would be open to hundreds of ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancer patients. Stay tuned to FORCE for updates on the research results.

Although the ovarian study is filled, there are other open PARP inhibitor studies, including a large phase II study looking at PARP inhibitors in combination with chemotherapy for advanced hereditary breast cancer which is open and has been expanded to many sites across the United States and internationally. Other smaller PARP inhibitor studies, including studies for women with ovarian cancer, and a study for women with early stage breast cancer who have residual cancer after neoadjuvant chemotherapy are open or will be opening soon.

I need to acknowledge all the brave volunteers who enroll in any medical research, and particularly thank those who participate in hereditary cancer research. Your participation is critical for progress in cancer prevention and treatment and gives us all hope for better options for us and for future generations.

Visit the Clinical Trials and Research Section of the website for more information and our Featured Studies Page for links to open PARP inhibitor and other studies. We will be presenting a free webinar: Updates on PARP Inhibitor Research on February 28. Visit our Be Empowered Webinar page to register or for more information.

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3 Comments

  1. […] Please check out this important post from Sue Friedman on Progress in Hereditary Cancer Treatment Research. […]

  2. Anonymous says:

    Excellent summary – thanks!!

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