OCRA Research Advocate’s Highlights From the 2023 Annual Meeting of the SGO

Annie Ellis headshot
Annie Ellis

Written by Annie Ellis, OCRA Research Advocate and Scientific Advisory Committee member, and ovarian cancer survivor, based on expert presentations from the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecoologic Oncology.

This year’s SGO annual meeting theme was Patients ● Purpose ● Progress. The meeting was held in Tampa, Florida from March 25th – 28th. There was record attendance, with over 2,900 medical professionals attending in person and over 200 more attending virtually to learn the latest on gynecologic cancers. 

By now you may have seen professional coverage of, and tweets about, this meeting. Below are brief highlights from a research advocate’s perspective.

Updates on Platinum Resistance

Dr. Molly Morton presented “Clinical trial participation is associated with improved overall survival in women with recurrent platinum resistant epithelial ovarian cancer.”  In this retrospective, single-institution study, patients who participated in clinical trials had longer overall survival after their cancers became platinum resistant compared to patients receiving standard of care. The study team concluded that clinical trial participation should be prioritized in the platinum resistant patient population when possible.

Video: Society of Gynecologic Oncology — On the Scene with Molly Morton, MD

Dr. Bruno Bockorny presented “Botensilimab, a novel innate/adaptive immune activator, plus balstilimab (anti-PD-1) in patients with recurrent platinum refractory/resistant ovarian cancer.” In the ovarian cancer cohort (n=24) of this phase 1 trial, 1 participant achieved a complete response, 7 participants achieved a partial response., 7 participants achieved stable disease and 8 participants had progression.  The responses were durable. A biomarker predictive of response has not yet been identified—participants with PD-1 and without PD-1 have responded. This trial (C-800-01) continues to enroll participants.

Dr. Robert Coleman presented “Mirvetuximab soravtansine (MIRV) in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer with high folate receptor alfa (Frα) expression: Evaluation of sequence of therapy on anti-tumor activity in the SORAYA study.” MIRV (brand name Elahere) was granted accelerated approval for high Frα expression (over 70%) last November along with a companion diagnostic (VENTANA FOLR1 RxDx Assay). In this analysis, response rates for participants cancer who received MIRV as the first treatment for platinum resistance (34.8%) and later line of treatment for platinum resistance (28.2%) was higher than currently available treatments for platinum resistant ovarian cancer (approx. 10-20%). 52% of participants experienced ocular toxicities which appeared during cycle 2 and were proactively managed. 96% of grade 2 or higher ocular toxicities resolved to grade 1 or 0.

Window of Opportunity Study on Hereditary Advanced Ovarian Cancer

Window of Opportunity (WOO) studies, or Window trials, are designed to study interventions with newly diagnosed patients before standard of care treatment and surgery. Access to the treated tissue after surgery can provide deeper understanding of drug activity and help to identify biomarkers that may predict response to treatment. 

Dr. Shannon Westin presented “NOW: Neoadjuvant Olaparib Window trial in patients with newly diagnosed mutant ovarian cancer.” In this small (15 participants) trial, newly diagnosed patients with advanced ovarian cancer and a confirmed hereditary mutation had 2 cycles (28 days each) of olaparib before debulking surgery followed by physician/patient choice of chemotherapy and olaparib maintenance. Most participants (13, 86.6%) had surgery immediately after 2 cycles of olaparib and all participants who had surgery were optimally debulked (12 (85.7%) with no gross residual, 2 (14%) with less than 1 cm residual). Longer follow up of the participants is planned. Larger studies are required to understand safety of neoadjuvant olaparib and impact on future treatments.

Low-Grade Serous Carcinomas Trial Update

Dr. Brian Slomovitz presented data from “GOG 3026 A Phase II Trial of Letrozole + Ribociclib in women with recurrent Low Grade Serous carcinoma of the Ovary, Fallopian Tube or Peritoneum: a GOG Foundation Study.” In this single arm trial, letrozole (an oral aromatase inhibitor) was paired with ribociclib (an oral CDK4/6 inhibitor). This combination was found to be active. The overall response rate, progression free survival and duration of response compared favorably to other agents being investigated for low grade serous.

Neuropathy and Cryocompression

Dr. Mary Katherine Montes de Oca presented “Cryocompression to reduce peripheral neuropathy in gynecologic cancer: a randomized controlled trial.” Adding compression to cryotherapy has been reported to increase tolerance to cold. In this prospective trial, gynecologic cancer patients treated with platinum or taxanes served as their own controls and were randomized to receive cryocompression on their dominant or non-dominant hand/foot and no intervention on the opposite hand/foot. Participants could temporarily remove their hand/foot from cryocompression if needed for comfort. The majority of participants reported that cryocompression was tolerable (95%) and acceptable (98%). There was no significant difference in objective neuropathy measured by Semmes Weinstein Monofilament test, however cryocompression did reduce subjective neuropathy by 46% as reported on the Patient Neurotoxicity Questionnaire.

Patient Advocates at SGO

The SGO’s Foundation for Women’s Cancer’s (FWC) Patient Education Forum on Friday, March 24th was attended by over 80 participants and was the FWC’s first in-person patient education event since the pandemic. FWC also hosted several activities for patient advocates attending the annual meeting, including a Coffee Chat & Debrief with the Patient Education Committee and a Poster Walk with voting for a poster to receive the inaugural “Patient Advocates’ Hope Award.” 

Dee Sparacio, co-founder of #gyncsm and member of SGO’s Communications Committee, was a panelist during an Education Forum on media readiness.  

Yellow graphic with circular headshot of Annie Ellis. Teal headline: Congrats to Annie Ellis! White text on yellow: Winner of SGO's Health Equity Awareness and Advocacy in Gynecologic Oncology Award. Teal rectangle at bottom with white text reads For her contribution to advocacy for diversity and health equity in gynecologic cancer.

During a scientific plenary session, I presented “Long-term survivors speak: patient perspectives on progress” reporting on a roundtable session moderated along with Dee Sparacio.

It is hoped that even more advocates will participate during SGO’s 2024 annual meeting scheduled for March 16th – 19th in San Diego, California, with a FWC Patient Education Forum on Friday, March 15th.

OCRA congratulates Annie Ellis on well-deserved recognition from the Society of Gynecologic Oncology! For her contribution to advocacy for diversity in health equity in gynecologic cancer, Annie received the SGO’s Health Equity Awareness and Advocacy in Gynecologic Oncology Award at this year’s annual meeting.

Additional Online SGO Coverage

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