Targeted therapies for rare gynaecological cancers

Lancet Oncol. 2010 Jul;11(7):685-93. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(09)70368-7. Epub 2010 Mar 31.


Some gynaecological cancers are uncommon, such as sex cord-stromal tumours, malignant germ-cell tumours, vulvar carcinoma, melanoma of the female genital tract, clear-cell carcinoma of the ovary and endometrium, neuroendocrine tumours of the cervix, and gestational trophoblastic neoplasia. All these cancers have different clinicopathological characteristics, suggesting different molecular biological pathogeneses. Despite aggressive treatment, some cancers recur or respond poorly to therapy. Comprehensive knowledge of the molecular biology of each cancer might help with development of novel treatments that maximise efficacy and minimise toxic effects. Targeted therapy is a new treatment strategy that has been investigated in various tumours in clinical and laboratory settings. Since these cancers are rare and large clinical trials are difficult to do, molecular biological techniques might allow rapid proof-of-principle experiments in few patients. Novel targeted agents either alone or in combination with other treatments offer promising therapeutic options.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / drug therapy
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / trends*
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / drug therapy*
  • Gestational Trophoblastic Disease / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / drug therapy
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex Cord-Gonadal Stromal Tumors / drug therapy
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / drug therapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents