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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Clinically and on a molecular level, ovarian cancer is a unique and complex disease. The explosion in potential molecular targets over the last decade has led to the arrival of many novel therapies into oncology. In the present article, we review the most promising of these agents in ovarian cancer. RECENT FINDINGS: Targeted therapies, such as epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors, that have worked well in other cancers have shown only moderate success in ovarian cancer, whereas other treatment approaches have yielded surprisingly positive outcomes. An example is anti-vascular endothelial growth factor and proapoptotic strategies, which are effective in both primary and relapsed ovarian cancer. Use of poly (ADP-ribose)-polymerase inhibitors has shown that targeting one form of DNA repair profoundly affects cell survival in those with a hereditary failure to mend DNA damage using another mechanism. This can be extrapolated to patients with sporadic ovarian cancers, with or without the 'BRCAness' phenotype. SUMMARY: Using targeted agents in ovarian cancer, we are discovering not only how these novel therapies work but are also unveiling the complex 'wiring' of the disease itself, and the interconnections between what were previously believed to be distinct molecular pathways. The addition of targeted agents to our therapeutic armoury is likely to significantly and positively impact on patient survival.

Original publication

DOI

10.1097/CCO.0b013e32832eab1f

Type

Journal article

Journal

Curr Opin Oncol

Publication Date

09/2009

Volume

21

Pages

412 - 419

Keywords

Antineoplastic Agents, Female, Humans, Ovarian Neoplasms, Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases, Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors, Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases, Protein Kinases, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt, Signal Transduction, TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A