Women's Health

Immunotherapy's Great Potential for Ovarian Cancer

Details of current trials

“Having said that, the next wave of trials is well underway and some have already completed. One is combining chemotherapy and/or Avastin (bevacizumab) with checkpoint inhibitors. Now, there are some scientific theoretical and circumstantial evidence to suggest that either chemotherapy, Avastin or both, benefit the activation of the immune system. After all, this is what these drugs are doing—activating the host’s immune system. If you can improve the immune environment in the tumor, you may help the activation of the immune system. That is what the rationale is of adding cytotoxic drugs or Avastin to the milieu. However, of course, it is a big undertaking, and an expensive undertaking. Yet, there are a number of trials combining those agents with checkpoint inhibitors. There is also some early work going on with combining checkpoint inhibitors with other molecularly targeted therapies, particularly PARP inhibitors. There are some data to suggest that the combination of PARP inhibitors and checkpoint inhibitors will enhance the antigen expression and the immune activation. Therefore, those phase 1/2 trials are ongoing. People are now talking about launching larger randomized trials, which is interesting considering we haven't seen some of the early data yet,” he added.