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Oral Medication Improves Survival Outcomes for Ovarian Cancer Patients, Study Reports

Milwaukee, Nov. 26, 2018 – Women with ovarian cancer who were treated with the oral PARP inhibitor olaparib experienced longer progression-free survival, according to an international study presented at the European Society for Medical Oncologists in Munich last month and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

William H. Bradley, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, led the landmark clinical trial locally. He sees patients at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center. Study participants were patients with newly diagnosed stage III or IV ovarian cancer.

“With many patient participants experiencing multi-year improvement in progression-free survival, the results of this clinical trial could change treatment practices for ovarian cancer in a significant number of women with the disease,” Dr. Bradley said.

Progression-free survival is the length of time during and after treatment that a patient lives with ovarian cancer, but the disease does not worsen. To determine these rates, patients underwent routine scans over the course of several years since the study began in 2013.

Pending FDA approval, this new treatment practice will be adopted at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin for certain patients with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian, primary peritoneal or fallopian-tube cancer -- or a combination thereof – with a mutation in BRCA1, BRCA2 or both.

“Appropriately selected patients can expect an unprecedented change in survival due to the addition of this agent,” Dr. Bradley said.

The NIH-funded study was conducted in more than 150 sites around the globe. The lead principal investigators were Kathleen Moore, MD, of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and Paul A. DiSilvestro, MD, of the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

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