Study Finds Source of PARP Inhibitor Drug Resistance

It may not be sporting to hit someone when they’re down, but when the foe is a cancer cell, there’s no merit in mercy. That’s the principle behind drugs known as PARP inhibitors. Tumor cells that lack effective BRCA genes have difficulty repairing certain kinds of DNA damage, potentially leaving them vulnerable to agents that … Continued

‘Organoids’ Could Aid Cancer Drug Selection

Tests on living “organoids” created from patients’ ovarian cancer cells proved more accurate than DNA sequencing in predicting tumors’ sensitivity or resistance to chemotherapy drugs – and combining the two methods worked even better, say scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The investigators report in Cancer Discovery that ovarian cancer organoids – tiny, three-dimensional spheres of cells … Continued

After Two Relapses, Ovarian Cancer Patient is Thriving

After two relapses, Janet Sheehan went on a clinical trial for her ovarian cancer. Four months later, her newest tumors were completely gone—and today, she’s relishing in a growing list of family milestones.

Living with Ovarian Cancer as a Chronic Disease, and Celebrating Milestones

Whenever Joan Janssen meets fellow ovarian cancer patients, she shares words of wisdom that she’s gained from seven years of living with the disease. “This is a recurring disease; don’t be stunned if it comes back,” she tells them. “You fought it the first time. You can do it even better the next time.” Janssen … Continued

New Interventions Address Sexual Health after Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Ovarian cancer often goes undetected before it reaches more invasive stages, but there is one aspect of the disease that frequently remains ignored even after diagnosis: Its impact upon a patient’s sexual health and function. Now, as research and treatment advances are allowing more women to live longer and healthier with ovarian cancer, Dana-Farber is … Continued

Testing a New Option in Ovarian Cancer Prevention

For women who inherit a breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene like mutant BRCA-1 or BRCA-2, the risk of ovarian and tubal cancers begins to rise significantly at age 40 to 45. Women at this age — and younger — are often advised to have their ovaries and tubes removed as a risk-reducing strategy for … Continued

Advanced Ovarian Cancer: 4 Things to Know

By Linda Dzobiek I have been living with ovarian cancer for 13 years. I was diagnosed at age 53 with Stage 3C ovarian cancer, and after receiving care near my home in Providence, Rhode Island, my doctor referred me to Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers for a clinical trial. I have been … Continued

Ovarian Cancer Can Present Unique Challenges Around Gender

By Mal Malme Each year during my annual checkup with my wonderful oncologist Panos A. Konstantinopoulos, MD, PhD, at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, I reflect back on how grateful I am that my ovarian cancer is in remission. And while I appreciate the warmth and clinical expertise that he … Continued

Ovarian Cancer and Immunotherapy: The State of the Science

Immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment of many types of cancer and is now undergoing testing in ovarian cancer. Clinical trials of drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors, which can unleash a potent immune system attack on cancer cells, have produced remissions in about 10-15 percent of patients with advanced and recurrent ovarian cancer – somewhat … Continued

New Online Tool Guides Genetic Testing for Lynch Syndrome

A new online assessment tool developed at Dana-Farber can help rapidly identify people who should undergo genetic testing for Lynch syndrome, an inherited disorder that greatly increases the lifetime risk of colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, stomach, and other cancers. An estimated 1 in 279 individuals – nearly a million people in the United States – carry … Continued

Gynecological Cancer Patients Find Safety, Solidarity in Support Group

Deb Petrishen says well-meaning but frustrating interactions can occur everywhere, from the grocery store to family functions. Although friends and loved ones are often sensitive and supportive, some may not know what to say to someone with stage III ovarian cancer, especially after two recurrences. Petrishen has just as much difficulty explaining her feelings. Except … Continued

Drug Prolongs Remissions in Some Relapsed Ovarian Cancers

Ed. note: Niraparib (Zejula) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 28, 2017, as a maintenance therapy for women with ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer. This post was originally published on Oct. 21, 2016. For women with relapsed ovarian cancer that responds to platinum-based chemotherapy, a drug that hampers … Continued

Ovarian Cancer: State of the Science

By Ursula Matulonis, MD This is an exciting time for those of us engaged in research and patient care for ovarian cancer. As we’ve learned more about this cancer – its early formation, molecular machinery, and the body’s defenses against it – we’ve also come to understand its weaknesses. An array of new therapies that … Continued

An Aggressive Treatment for a Strong Patient

By Theresa Sullivan Barger After triathlete Betsy Feldmann felt pressure in her abdomen while running, which seemed “as if her insides were slipping,” she saw four doctors before being diagnosed with stage II-C ovarian cancer. Feldmann chose an aggressive approach recommended by Ursula Matulonis, MD, medical director of Gynecologic Oncology at the Susan F. Smith … Continued

Treatments for Ovarian Cancer: Finding Your Path [Infographic]

Ovarian cancer is a complex disease. Cell types, stages, and genetics play an important role for patients and their doctors as they decide which direction to take. Fortunately, patients today have many treatment options and new advances on the horizon. Physician-scientists at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers are leading the way in … Continued

Improving Sexual Health for Ovarian Cancer Patients

Treatment for ovarian cancer often comes with sexual side effects. Although curing the cancer is the main goal for many patients and their doctors, Sharon Bober, PhD, director of Dana-Farber’s Sexual Health Program, is focused on preserving a patient’s quality of life – including her sexual satisfaction. Bober, with co-investigators Alexi Wright, MD, MPH, a … Continued

Clinical Trial Helps Betsy Brauser Live with Ovarian Cancer

As researchers and clinicians in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber continue studying the benefits of a two-drug combination in slowing progression of recurrent ovarian cancer, one patient is as a beacon of hope for her caregivers – and for others facing the disease. Betsy Brauser, treated with standard chemotherapy near … Continued