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First Useful Therapeutic Target in Mucinous Carcinomas of the Ovary

OVCARE gynecologic-oncologists, Drs. Jessica McAlpine and Dianne Miller, identify the first useful therapeutic target in mucinous carcinomas of the ovary and the potential for trastuzumab therapy in this histologic type of ovarian cancer. 

Mucinous tumours of the ovary comprise less than 4% of ovarian cancers and typically do not respond to current conventional therapy.  Published in BMC Cancer, Dr. McAlpine and her team revealed amplification of HER2 in 6 of 33 (18.2%) mucinous ovarian carcinomas.  McAlpine explains, “This is the first time we have been able to offer targeted treatment for patients with mucinous ovarian cancer.  In a small series of women with HER2+ recurrent mucinous carcinoma at our center, we found evidence of response with the HER2-targeted trastuzumab therapy.” Through international collaboration, the team went on to collect ~400 mucinous tumours and confirmed that 19% of mucinous carcinomas had amplification of HER2.  Three major molecular subtypes of mucinous cancers were identified providing treatment options that had not previously been considered for this cancer. 

The team, co-led by OVCARE clinician-scientists Drs. McAlpine and Anna Tinker, has now launched a new initiative, the SMART cancer project, to facilitate and accelerate the study of new treatments in rare cancers.    “Collaboration will be the key to advancing our knowledge and treatment for our patients in a rapidly evolving field,” says Dr. McAlpine.

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