Ovarian Cancer


The Cancer Treatment and Research Trust enabled Mount Vernon Cancer Centre over the past 20 years to enter a larger proportion of patients with ovarian cancer into clinical trials than all but a few centres in Europe. Generous donations have funded a dedicated group of research nurses and data managers who work closely with Professor Gordon Rustin, Dr Marcia Hall, and the junior doctors to look after the patients and collect all the important data so new treatments can be introduced and closely analysed.

Through analysis of thousands of patients in clinical trials around the world, we have developed new ways of detecting and monitoring ovarian cancer based on changes in levels of CA125 – a chemical present in the blood of patients with ovarian cancer. These tests also provide an early indication of patients’ responses to different treatments. Our definitions, based on changes in CA 125 levels (previously known as the “Rustin” criteria), have now been accepted by all major trial groups around the world and are called the Gynecological Cancer Inter-Group criteria. The CTRT helped fund a trial called the CA125 doubling trial that used CA 125 tests to assess new drugs which are relatively non-toxic and work by controlling rather than killing cancers.

Current clinical trials: Mount Vernon Cancer Centre works closely in an academic partnership with the Royal Marsden hospital in continually updating it’s portfolio of clinical trials so that our patients have access to the most exciting new drugs. We currently have four trials open to patients when they initially present with ovarian cancer. The ICON8 trial is investigating different schedules of carboplatin and paclitaxel, and is run by The Medical Research Council. Another trial called PETROC is investigating intra-peritoneal chemotherapy. The majority of trials are in patients with ovarian cancer that has relapsed. We have a succession of trials available for patients who are defined as platinum resistant, as their cancer has recurred within 6 months of their last chemotherapy that contained either carboplatin or cisplatin. We also have trials available for patients defined as platinum sensitive as their cancer has recurred more than 6 months since completing their last chemotherapy.

Attacking the blood vessels that enable ovarian cancer to grow, has recently been shown to be an effective way of controlling ovarian cancer. The CTRT has been funding work in this area for over 20 years. Most recently it helped to fund research nurses and data managers looking after patients at Mount Vernon Hospital recruited into the ICON7 trial. This trial showed that bevacizumab (Avastin) prolonged remissions and in patients with the most advanced disease prolonged their life. New trials are being supported by the CTRT to investigate the use of other antivascular agents such as cediranib and AMG386 in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer. Dr Hall will be the chief investigator for a national trial that investigates the role of adding nintedanib to cyclophosphamide in patients who have relapsed several times.

Professor Rustin is chief investigator of a trial also in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer that is investigating combining together drugs that attack tumour blood vessels in very different ways.

One of our newest trials is PAZOFOS there was a recent article in the Daily Mail (14 October 2014) about this trial please click on link to view Daily Mail Article – Is this the Ovarian Cancer Breakthrough Women have Prayed For?

Patients with BRCA mutations can benefit from drugs called PARP inhibitors that selectively prevent the cancer cells containing the mutation from recovering from agents that damage their DNA. The researchers funded by the CTRT have spent a lot of time looking after patients receiving PARP inhibitors such as olaparib.