Targeting signaling pathways in ovarian cancer

Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2008 Mar;12(3):353-65. doi: 10.1517/14728222.12.3.353.


Background: Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological cancer in western countries. Prognosis is poor for patients who relapse after platinum- and taxane-based therapy and additional treatment options besides second-line chemotherapy are necessary. Signaling pathways form promising novel candidates for pinpoint cancer treatment and thus much effort has been made to establish signal transduction as target for therapy.

Objective: Tyrosine kinases, as crucial parts of the transduction pathways, have become important objects in successful treatment of various cancers. This review aims to examine the role of tyrosine kinase inhibition in treatment of ovarian cancer.

Methods: Based on results of various clinical Phase I-III trials and preclinical basic research this review focuses on inhibition of growth factor receptors like human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFR), including presentations from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting 2007.

Conclusions: Although various agents show activity in ovarian cancer results are variable and mostly disappointing. Clinical value may be relevant only for an immunohistologically defined subgroup of patients. These questions have to be examined in larger Phase III trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / trends
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / immunology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Antineoplastic Agents