“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”
A study looking at AZD2281 to treat cancer of the ovary
This study was to see if an experimental drug called AZD2281 (also known as olaparib) could help to control the most common type of ovarian cancer after chemotherapy. This trial was for women with serous type epithelial ovarian cancer.
More about this trial
Doctors usually treat cancer of the ovary with surgery, often followed by chemotherapy. If the chemotherapy has controlled your cancer, you do not have further treatment at this stage, but you visit your specialist doctor regularly to monitor your cancer.
Researchers are looking for treatments that may help to either keep the cancer away, or under control after you finish chemotherapy. Olaparib works by stopping an
- Find out if olaparib could help to control cancer of the ovary after chemotherapy
- Learn more about the side effects of olaparib
Summary of results
The researchers found that olaparib could help to control ovarian cancer after chemotherapy.
The trial recruited 265 women with ovarian cancer. All the women taking part had already had chemotherapy that included a
This was a randomised trial. The women taking part were put into 1 of 2 treatment groups at random. Neither the women nor their doctors could decide which group they were in. And neither knew which group they were in either. This is called a double blind trial.
- 136 women had olaparib
- 129 women had a dummy drug (
The researchers looked at how long it was before the cancer started growing again. They found that on average, it was
- Over 8 months for women who had olaparib
- Less than 5 months for women who had the dummy drug
Most side effects were quite mild, but 41 women in the olaparib group and 12 women in the placebo group had to have a break in their treatment due to side effects. And 26 women in the olaparib group and 3 in the placebo group had a reduction in dose due to side effects. The number of women who stopped treatment completely because of bad side effects was 3 in the olaparib group and 1 in the placebo group.
The trial team found that on average, women who took olaparib had a longer time without any sign of their cancer coming back than women who took the dummy drug. Doctors call this an improvement in progression free survival.
In March 2012 the researchers published the results in a scientific journal where it was noted that the overall length of time the women lived (whether or not their cancer gets worse) was similar between the 2 groups - researchers call this overall survival. The researchers are now looking to see whether there are patients in the study with certain types of ovarian cancer where there might be a difference in overall survival between the 2 groups.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Professor Jonathan Ledermann
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer