Progression-free survival almost doubled in women with platinum-sensitive relapsed ovarian cancer treated with two targeted drugs instead of one, a small randomized trial showed.
Patients treated with the two investigational agents olaparib and cediranib had a median PFS of 17.7 months compared with 9.0 months for patients who received only olaparib, according to Joyce Liu, MD, of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues.
Meanwhile, the objective response rate was 80 per cent for patients on the combination arm compared with 48 per cent for patients on olaparib alone.
Typically, the response to another round of chemotherapy in this population would be a PFS of between 8 and 13 months, according to Joyce Liu, the study’s lead author and an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
“Combining olaparib and cediranib may herald the beginning of treatments that avoid chemotherapy in some patients with recurrent ovarian cancer,” commented Jonathan Ledermann of University College London Cancer Institute.
The NCI is currently planning to conduct two phase III trials to further investigate the combination of olaparib and cediranib in ovarian cancer, and AZ said it would take the data into account as it considers its own clinical development plans for the drugs.
PARP inhibitor olaparib has already shown promise as an ovarian cancer therapy and is currently under regulatory review in the US and Europe as a maintenance therapy for BRCA-positive patients stabilised with chemotherapy.
Meanwhile, VEGF inhibitor cediranib – which has been given the proposed trade name of Recentin – has previously disappointed in colorectal cancer but demonstrated significant improvements in PFS and overall survival in ovarian cancer and is scheduled for regulatory filings later this year.
AZ is banking on its pipeline to deliver the goods and justify its decision to resist the recent takeover, and in documents advising shareholders of the potential of its pipeline indicated that olaparib is expected to become a $2bn-a-year product at peak. Sales forecasts for cediranib were not included in that update.