Updated
March 22nd, 2019

Immunotherapy Improves Prognosis for Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients

Dendritic cell-based immunotherapy uses the patient’s own immune system to combat cancer and offers long-lasting antitumor immunity

group of women

The findings from a recent clinical trial show that a new immunotherapy treatment, when added to standard chemotherapy, significantly prolongs survival in women with recurrent ovarian cancer.   

This randomized phase II clinical trial showed women treated with a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy experienced significantly prolonged survival. 

The highlights of this study are as follows:

  • No significant difference was observed in median progression-free survival (11.3 months in patients treated with dendritic cell-based immunotherapy plus chemotherapy and 10.1 months in patients treated with chemotherapy alone).
  • Survival curves showed a significant difference in favor of the immunotherapy in combination with chemotherapy, corresponding to a 2-year survival of 72.4% and 40.9% in Arm A and B, respectively.
  • Median overall survival reached 35.5 months in Arm A and 22.1 months in Arm B.

The treatment is referred to as Dendritic Cell-Based Immunotherapy.  

It uses the patient’s own immune system to combat cancer and offers long-lasting antitumor immunity.

This is important news since approximately 22,000 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which caused about 14,000 deaths in the United States during 2018.   

Immunotherapies are one of the newest and most promising treatments for ovarian cancer, which typically is diagnosed at a later stage and subsequently harder to treat.

David Cibula, MD, Ph.D., with Gynecologic Oncology Centre, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital in Prague, presented the results today at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s 50th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer.

Dr. Cibula said in a press release “It’s important to prolong overall survival while maintaining a good quality of life during treatment.” 

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“And, a major advantage of this immunotherapy is an excellent safety profile and tolerance by patients thanks to an almost absence of any toxicity.” 

This study is a result of many years of research in the field of active cellular immunotherapy conducted by scientists at the Second Faculty of Medicine at Charles University and the Motol University Hospital, both in Prague and, later, by the study sponsor, biotechnology company SOTIO. 

Said Dr. Cibula, “There are currently not many other alternatives in clinical development with such promising results.”

A larger phase III clinical trial is planned for 2019.

Ovarian cancer often progresses significantly before a patient is diagnosed. This is because the symptoms of ovarian cancer can be easily confused with less life-threatening digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and gas.

Roughly only 20 percent of ovarian cancers are detected before it spreads beyond the ovaries. 

The Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) is the premier medical specialty society for health care professionals trained in the comprehensive management of gynecologic cancers.