Targeted agents in epithelial ovarian cancer: review on emerging therapies and future developments

8 Mar 2016
Rajitha Lokadasan, Francis V James, Geetha Narayanan, Pranab K Prabhakaran

Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remains a clinical challenge and there is a need to optimise the currently available treatment and to urgently develop new therapeutic strategies. Recently, there has been improved understanding of the molecular characteristics and tumour microenvironment of ovarian cancers. This has facilitated the development of various targeted agents used concurrently with chemotherapy or as maintenance. Most of the studies have explored the tumour angiogenesis pathways. In phase-III trials, bevacizumab showed a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival, although there was no improvement in overall survival in selected high-risk cases. Although several multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors were found to be useful, the toxicity and survival benefit has to be weighed. Poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors have been another marvellous molecule found to be effective in breast cancer 1, early onset (BRCA)-positive ovarian cancers. Several newer molecules targeting Her 2, Wee tyrsine kinases, PIP3/AKT/mTR-signalling pathways, folate receptors are under development and may provide additional opportunities in the future. This article focuses on the targeted agents that have successfully paved the way in the management of epithelial ovarian cancer and the newer molecules that may offer therapeutic opportunities in the future.

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