Objectives: The optimal treatment for women with recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer is evolving. The objective of this review is to outline the transition away from platinum doublets toward nonplatinum combinations and review emerging data on antiangiogenesis therapy in this setting.
Materials and Methods: Recently published and presented data as well as ongoing clinical trials are discussed.
Results: Current clinical practice largely harmonizes with a paradigm that outlines a treatment algorithm for recurrent ovarian cancer based on the duration of platinum-free exposure. In this model, patients whose penultimate platinum compound exposure (platinum-free interval [PFI]) is longer than 6 months are generally offered a platinum agent or a platinum-containing doublet; those with a shorter interval are usually treated with a single nonplatinum agent. This is based on the simple contention that better clinical outcomes will be realized with platinum in those deemed platinum sensitive (PFI >6 months). However, it is becoming clear from various phase II and phase III clinical studies that the performance of many nonplatinum chemotherapeutic agents is also influenced by this parameter (PFI). Indeed, although definitive comparisons of nonplatinum drugs to novel cytotoxic agents are lacking, the clinical activity of these compounds might approach or exceed that of platinum agents. Although recognized by clinicians, the dichotomy that determines therapy based on PFI has not been formally accepted by the US Food and Drug Administration in all cases of drug labeling. For instance, whereas the combination of gemcitabine and carboplatin is now approved for patients with platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer, traditionally used platinum-resistant (PFI <6 months) agents such as topotecan and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin are also approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as single agents in platinum-sensitive patients. Furthermore, the nonplatinum doublet pegylated liposomal doxorubicin and trabectedin has recently documented comparable activity to platinum combinations among patients with a PFI of longer than 6 months. To that end, the most prolific developmental therapeutics arena in ovarian cancer is biologically targeted therapy, particularly angiogenesis inhibitors. Although it is unknown if the clinical activity from these new agents will respect the chemotherapy-sensitive dichotomy, it is clear that they have the potential to augment efficacy, possibly in both traditionally chemosensitive and chemoresistant phenotypes.
Conclusions: The term platinum sensitive should probably be replaced by chemotherapy sensitive, particularly as new nonplatinum agents and combinations are identified as active in this setting. Nonplatinum doublets are effective in treating platinum-sensitive recurrent disease, and adding antiangiogenesis agents to these combinations is a research priority.
- Recurrent ovarian cancer
- Platinum sensitive
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