Despite breakthrough treatments for high-grade serous ovarian cancer, about 80 percent of patients relapse within two years, often resistant to treatment. The good news is that Dana-Farber scientists are pursuing multiple avenues of research that very well may improve outcomes. “A number of patients develop progressive disease at a later point, potentially indicating that a … Read more
The time may not be far off when the treatment for a person’s ovarian cancer can be tailored to their malignancy using drugs selected by testing on “organoids” — miniature 3-D clusters of cancer cells grown from a patient’s own tumor cells. Although ovarian organoid tests are not yet being used to guide treatment decisions, … Read more
Immune therapies declare open season on cancer, rousing immune system cells to take up an attack on tumors. But which immune cells join the hunt, which sit it out, and what happens within immune cells that causes them to go on the offensive? Such questions are especially relevant when immunotherapies show only limited effectiveness against … Read more
Although ovarian cancer is among the most difficult cancers to treat when not caught in its earliest stages, treatment advances are extending the lives, and improving the quality of life, of many patients. “Ovarian cancer research and treatment continue to grow. There are so many resources available and we are no longer committed to just … Read more
Two things most surprised Jackie Page about her stage III ovarian cancer diagnosis in early 2019. She had no family history of the disease, and she had just turned 52 — a younger age than many women who learn they have it. What most worried her was whether she would have good options for treatment: … Read more
Carol Brown, 80, has been through quite a turbulent 2020. Her much-beloved pastimes, including playing violin in a senior orchestra, book groups, and weekly church services, are now virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Boston-area resident had to cancel a March trip to visit family out west, and she spent the summer packing up … Read more
In their search for better treatments for breast, ovarian, and other cancers, young investigators Jennifer Guerriero, PhD, and Sarah Hill, MD, PhD, rely on a precious commodity — patient tissue samples obtained by surgeons in Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers. Studies of these normal and cancerous tissues, which are collected, banked, and … Read more
Dana-Farber scientists recently uncovered a potential vulnerability in a form of ovarian cancer notoriously resistant to chemotherapy. Now they’ve opened a clinical trial involving a drug that targets that susceptibility in patients with the disease. The impetus for their research is a type of ovarian cancer with excess copies of the cyclinE1 gene (abbreviated CCNE1). … Read more
Medically reviewed by Alexander Gusev, PhD A team of Dana-Farber scientists and their associates has identified 34 genes associated with an increased risk of developing earliest-stage ovarian cancer. The findings, published in the journal Nature Genetics, will both help identify women who have the highest risk of developing ovarian cancer and pave the way for identifying … Read more
By Luisa Stigol, MD, FAAP I was a 74-year-old pediatrician in practice with a multi-specialty group associated with Boston Children’s Hospital. Forty years after becoming a doctor, I still loved learning new things and sharing them with my patients. Then I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer — and suddenly, a big wall separated me from … Read more
It was a bumpy road for Anne Sandstrom at first: after dealing with a stage IIIc ovarian cancer diagnosis, she had two relapses in a three-year span. But finally, treatment worked, and Sandstrom has enjoyed 16 years in which her disease lay dormant — enough for her oncologist to declare her “graduated” in 2017. The … Read more
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
When Fran Austin’s ovarian cancer recurred after two rounds of chemotherapy, she found herself looking for a silver lining to the dark cloud of her disease. And she found it: Genetic profiling of her tumor identified her as an ideal candidate for an immunotherapy clinical trial, which has since shrunk her tumor by 60 percent … Read more
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.
Julie Wisnia was undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer at Dana-Farber when she became inspired to participate in the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC), a 163-mile bike-a-thon that raises funds for Dana-Farber.
Mutations in BRCA genes are linked to hereditary ovarian cancer as well as breast cancer.
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
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 … Read more