February 24, 2018 |
Researchers Find Experimental Drug Can Help Fight Debilitating Side Effect of Ovarian Cancer
November 19, 2015  | 

Los Angeles, CA -- Women who have ovarian cancer often develop a condition called ascites, which is a buildup of fluids in the abdomen. The most common treatment for ascites is puncturing the abdomen and manually draining the fluid, which is painful and risky and must be repeated every few weeks.

UCLA researchers have found that a drug that inhibits a receptor called the Colony-Stimulating-Factor-1 Receptor, or CSF1R, reduces ascites with minimal side effects. This inhibition therapy targets not cancer cells but macrophages, a special type of immune cell, in order to prevent them from helping the cancer take root in the abdomen. 

In effect, the drug makes the abdominal cavity — where ovarian cancers often spread — into an environment less conducive to cancer growth.  It may prove to be an effective treatment in combination with conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

The findings, published today in the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Research, may lead to a clinical trial of the drug in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer, said Dr. Lily Wu, the study’s senior author and a professor of pharmacology, pediatrics and urology at UCLA.

Wu said 50 to 70 percent of the approximately 22,000 women diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer in the United States each year will also develop ascites.

“Trying to fight a battle on two fronts can seem hopeless, and patients fighting ascites while trying to survive a particularly deadly cancer is unacceptable,” said Wu, who is also a member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Continue>

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