Developing an In Vitro Assay for Ovarian Cancer Drug Sensitivity
Barry M. Kacinski, M.D., Ph.D.,Professor of Therapeutic Radiology
Ovarian cancer remains the most lethal gynecological cancer, and optimal treatments remain elusive. Dr. Kacinski and his colleagues worked to develop a measure of the sensitivity of ovarian cancer cells to therapeutic drugs—practical tests that predict the likelihood of individual tumor responses to particular drugs. Such laboratory tests have increased the effectiveness of chemotherapy choices and reduced exposure to treatments that are unlikely to be useful while inducing unnecessary side effects.
Highlighted Study Findings
In this study, Drs.Kacinski and Maryann Flick worked to develop a measure of the sensitivity of ovarian cancer cells to therapeutic drugs. The researchers compared the response of specific tumor cells to various chemotherapeutic agents in the laboratory - to the response of the patient with ovarian cancer in a clinical setting, utilizing two of the most widely used types of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Their results showed that the laboratory test correctly predicted the patient’s response to chemotherapy more than 75 % of the time. These results represented the first steps toward practical tests to predict the likelihood of individual tumor responses to particular drugs. Such tests will permit the choice of anti-cancer agents to which the patient’s tumors are most sensitive, and avoid treatment with drugs to which a tumor is already resistant, thus avoiding unnecessary drug side-effects while maximizing available treatments.