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Ovarian cancer drug niraparib maintains remission and extends time without symptoms

Findings from a recent clinical trial presented today at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s 50th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer revealed that women with recurrent ovarian cancer who received niraparib as maintenance therapy experienced more time without certain side effects than those who received placebo.

Niraparib, a PARP inhibitor, provides significantly longer progression-free survival times for women with recurrent ovarian cancer compared to placebo.

“When patients with recurrent ovarian cancer enter into remission following platinum-based treatment, they now have the option to prolong their progression-free survival with a PARP inhibitor,” said Ursula A. Matulonis, MD, presenting author and Director and Chief of Gynecologic Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The purpose of the clinical trial was to measure the TWiST, or time without symptoms or toxicity, in women receiving niraparib as maintenance therapy as compared to placebo.

“It’s really important to demonstrate that, if we’re adding a maintenance therapy, we’re not significantly altering women’s quality of life,” said Dr Matulonis,

The trial evaluated time without a certain level of three main symptoms: fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.

Patients who received niraparib experienced longer TWiST than those who received placebo.

Though clinical trials with cancer patients typically focus on measurements such as tumour progression and overall survival, quality of life is being included more often as an important outcome in these trials.

“All of these maintenance studies have a (quality of life) component to the trials,” added Matulonis. "Quality of life is very important, so that patients can take these drugs without experiencing unacceptable toxicities and keep their cancer in remission."

Source: The Society of Gynecologic Oncology

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