Advances in ovarian cancer therapy

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2018 Jan;81(1):17-38. doi: 10.1007/s00280-017-3501-8. Epub 2017 Dec 16.


Epithelial ovarian cancer is typically diagnosed at an advanced stage. Current state-of-the-art surgery and chemotherapy result in the high incidence of complete remissions; however, the recurrence rate is also high. For most patients, the disease eventually becomes a continuum of symptom-free periods and recurrence episodes. Different targeted treatment approaches and biological drugs, currently under development, bring the promise of turning ovarian cancer into a manageable chronic disease. In this review, we discuss the current standard in the therapy for ovarian cancer, major recent studies on the new variants of conventional therapies, and new therapeutic approaches, recently approved and/or in clinical trials. The latter include anti-angiogenic therapies, polyADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors, inhibitors of growth factor signaling, or folate receptor inhibitors, as well as several immunotherapeutic approaches. We also discuss cost-effectiveness of some novel therapies and the issue of better selection of patients for personalized treatment.

Keywords: Biological drugs; Clinical trials; Ovarian cancer; Targeted therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Cytoreduction Surgical Procedures
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Female
  • Folic Acid Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced
  • Immunotherapy
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / surgery
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Palliative Care
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Precision Medicine / economics
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Folic Acid Antagonists
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor