The drug Sprycel, approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, significantly inhibited the growth and invasiveness of ovarian cancer cells and also promoted their death, a study by researchers with UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found.
The drug, when paired with a chemotherapy regimen, was even more effective in fighting ovarian cancer in cell lines in which signaling of the Src family kinases, associated with the deadly disease, is activated.
The study appears in the Nov. 10, 2009 edition of the British Medical Journal.
Ovarian cancer, which will strike 21,600 women this year and kill 15,500, causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Few effective therapies for ovarian cancer exist, so it would be advantageous for patients if a new drug could be found that fights the cancer, said Gottfried Konecny, an assistant professor of hematology/oncology, a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and first author of the study.
"I think Sprycel could be a potential additional drug for treating patients with Src dependent ovarian cancer," Konecny said. "It is important to remember that this work is only on cancer cell lines, but it is significant enough that it should be used to justify clinical trials to confirm that women with this type of ovarian cancer could benefit."
Recent gene expression studies have shown that about one-third of women have ovarian cancers with activated Src pathways, so the drug could potentially help 7,000 ovarian cancer patients every year.
In this study, the UCLA team tested the drug against 34 ovarian cancer cell lines and they conducted genetic analysis on all cell lines. Through these analyses, the researchers were able to identify genes that predict response to Sprycel. If the work is confirmed in human studies, it may be possible to test patients for Src activation and select those
|Contact: Kim Irwin|
University of California - Los Angeles