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Mayo Clinic researchers find drug duo kills chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer cells
Date:12/7/2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The use of two drugs never tried in combination before in ovarian cancer resulted in a 70 percent destruction of cancer cells already resistant to commonly used chemotherapy agents, say researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Their report, published online in Gynecologic Oncology, suggests that this combination (ixabepilone and sunitinib), might offer a much needed treatment option for women with advanced ovarian cancer. When caught at late stages, ovarian cancer is often fatal because it progressively stops responding to the chemotherapy drugs used to treat it.

"Women die from ovarian cancer because their tumors become resistant to chemotherapy, so a drug that might be able to reduce that resistance which may be what this combination of agents is doing would be a boon to treatment of this difficult cancer," says study co-author Gerardo Colon-Otero, M.D., a hematologist-oncologist who cares for ovarian cancer patients.

The finding also highlights the importance of the role of a molecule, RhoB, that the researchers say is activated by the drug duo. The study's senior investigator, cancer biologist John Copland, Ph.D., has identified RhoB as a key modulator for drug response in other tumor types, but says its role in ovarian cancer was unknown before this study.

"Now we find that with this combination of drugs, RhoB is increased and cells die," he says.

The study was possible because Dr. Copland and his laboratory colleagues, including co-author Laura Marlow, created and characterized two new ovarian laboratory cell lines. They were derived from tumor tissue specimens taken from a patie
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Contact: Kevin Punsky
Punsky.Kevin@mayo.edu
904-953-2299
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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