Low-grade serous ovarian cancer is a rare type of ovarian cancer that is profoundly resistant to standard chemotherapy options. Response rates to chemotherapy are typically less than 5%. However, chemotherapy remains the standard of care for patients, both in the upfront setting and in those with surgically unresectable recurrent disease, due to the lack of more effective treatment strategies.
Low-grade serous ovarian cancer often develops from a precancerous condition referred to as serous borderline disease. Patients with low-grade serous ovarian cancer typically present at a young age and have a protracted clinical course compared to high grade serous ovarian cancer. In addition, patients with low-grade serous ovarian cancer frequently harbor mutations in the MAP Kinase pathway, a pathway that can lead to cancer cell growth. Early phase studies have shown promising results for the use of targeted therapies that inhibit the MAP Kinase pathway for treatment of this disease.
The aim of the current project is to determine molecular markers for progression from serous borderline disease to low-grade serous ovarian cancer, so that we may better predict which patients will develop advanced disease requiring systemic treatment, and to identify those patients who will be most likely to respond to targeted therapies.
These studies will result in the most comprehensive genetic profiling of serous borderline and low-grade serous ovarian tumors to date, allowing for prognostication and intelligent design of future clinical trials using targeted therapeutics for treatment of this disease. The overarching goal of these efforts is to determine which patients are most likely to develop invasive low-grade serous ovarian cancer and to identify those patients most likely to benefit from treatment with targeted therapies, with the ultimate goal of ushering in a new era of personalized treatment for patients with this disease.
This project has been generously supported by Ovarian Cycle New York.