Key Findings in Cancer Care for Women

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Daniela Matei, MD, participated in two recent studies that impact cancer care for woman.

The first affects treatment for stage III/IVA endometrial cancer following surgery, for which the standard of care has been chemotherapy and radiation to prevent recurrence. But in a surprising new study, led by Matei, radiation combined with chemotherapy did not increase recurrence-free survival.

“The trial was supposed to be a positive trial demonstrating that the combined regimen was superior to chemotherapy given alone,” said Matei, who is the Diana, Princess of Wales Professor of Cancer Research, a professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, and a Northwestern Medicine gynecological oncologist.

But, results indicated that chemotherapy alone remains the standard of care for stage III uterine cancer, the most common gynecologic cancer, with most cases occurring in women after age 55. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Matei was also co-author of a phase II trial published in The Lancet Oncology finding that a drug called niraparib showed clinically relevant activity in women with relapsed ovarian cancer who had exhausted all previous treatment options. While many patients will initially respond to therapy, about 70 percent will eventually relapse.

“The results of this study provide a new treatment option for women with recurrent ovarian cancer,” she said.

The uterine cancer study was supported by grants CA 27469, CA 37517, 1 U10 CA180822, U10CA180868 and UG1 CA189867 from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The ovarian cancer study was funded by Tesaro, which manufactures niraparib. Matei reported receiving personal fees from Tesaro outside the current study.

Listen to a podcast with Matei.

Daniela Matei, MD, is the Diana, Princess of Wales Professor of Cancer Research, a professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, and a Northwestern Medicine gynecological oncologist.