From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders

September 25, 2019

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. OHC is participating in a clinical trial that is evaluating rucaparib (a targeted drug) in combination with nivolumab (an immunotherapy drug) as a maintenance therapy in patients with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer who haven’t had a response to a chemotherapy.

Rucaparib is a type of targeted therapy drug that prevents cancer cells from repairing damage to their DNA. If the damage cannot be fixed, the cancer cell will undergo programmed cell death. Immunotherapy drugs, like nivolumab, have had success in other disease types like lung cancer and melanoma, but ovarian cancer trials aren’t seeing as high of response rates. So, in this trial, OHC researchers are trying to raise those rates by combing an immunotherapy with a targeted therapy drug.

“Women with advanced stage ovarian cancer need more treatment options,” said Cynthia Chua, MD, OHC medical oncologist and hematologist who is the study’s principal investigator. “Treatment outcomes usually depend on the stage at which the cancer is found. The five-year relative survival rate for all types and stages of ovarian cancer is 47 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.”

Dr. Chua says the ATHENA clinical trial is important for two reasons: it may lead to a new treatment option and it gives women right here in our region early access to this new treatment, while the rest of the country waits for FDA approval.

OHC’s nationally-recognized clinical trials program is an American Society for Clinical Oncology Clinical Trial Award Winner for its dedication to conquering cancer worldwide by funding breakthrough cancer research and sharing cutting-edge knowledge. OHC has been involved in more than 80 percent of the cancer drugs that have been approved by the FDA over the last several years. For more information about OHC clinical trials, please visit or call 1-888-649-4800.

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