Trabectedin in Ovarian Cancer: is it now a Standard of Care?

Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2018 Aug;30(8):498-503. doi: 10.1016/j.clon.2018.01.008. Epub 2018 Feb 9.


In patients with recurrent ovarian cancer, the choice of second-line therapy is complex. Several factors have to be considered, such as platinum-free interval (PFI), residual toxicity from the previous treatments, BRCA1/2 gene mutation status. Trebectedin is a minor groove DNA binder derived from a marine organism that has shown efficacy in different settings in ovarian cancer therapy. It has been approved in the treatment of partially platinum sensitive (PPS) (PFI between 6 and 12 months) relapsed ovarian cancer according to the statistically significant progression-free survival (7.3 versus 5.8 months) and overall survival (22.2 versus 18.9 months) benefit compared with single-agent pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) in the OVA 301 phase III trial. This drug has been shown to prolong the time to first subsequent treatment and improve the efficacy of further platinum-based chemotherapy. The role of trabectedin/PLD followed by platinum combination compared with the reverse sequence in PPS is actually in evaluation in the INOVATYON phase III study, which will clarify the best sequence to be adopted in this setting. Trabectedin has been shown to be active in patient carriers of BRCA mutations, probably for its mechanism of action directly affecting DNA and it is actually tested as a single agent in some phase III trials in BRCA mutated and BRCAness ovarian cancer patients. Trabectedin is also active on the immune system. There is, therefore, the rational for new trials of a combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Keywords: BRCA; ovarian cancer; partial platinum sensitive relapse; trabectedin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Standard of Care*
  • Trabectedin / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Trabectedin