Current state and outlook for drug repositioning anticipated in the field of ovarian cancer

J Gynecol Oncol. 2019 Jan;30(1):e10. doi: 10.3802/jgo.2019.30.e10. Epub 2018 Oct 10.


Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer and the eighth most common cause of cancer mortality in women. Although standard chemotherapy is the established treatment for ovarian cancer, the prognosis remains poor, and it is highly anticipated that new drugs will be developed. New drugs, such as humanized anti-vascular endothelial growth factor monoclonal antibodies and poly ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitors, are expected to improve clinical outcomes of ovarian cancer. However, long-term, costly research is required to develop such new drugs, and soaring national healthcare costs are becoming a concern worldwide. In this social context, drug repositioning, wherein existing drugs are used to develop drugs with new indications for other diseases, has recently gained attention. Because trials have already confirmed the safety in humans and the pharmacokinetics of such drugs, the development period is shorter than the conventional development of a new drug, thereby reducing costs. This review discusses the available basic experimental and clinical data on drugs used for other types of cancer for which drug repositioning is anticipated to repurpose the drug for the treatment of ovarian cancer. These include statins, which are used to treat dyslipidemia; bisphosphonate, which is used to treat osteoporosis; metformin, which is used to treat diabetes; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; ivermectin, an antiparasitic agent; and itraconazole, an anti-fungal agent. These drugs will play an important role in future drug repositioning strategies for ovarian cancer. Furthermore, drug repositioning is anticipated to extend not only to ovarian cancer treatment but also to ovarian cancer prevention.

Keywords: Drug Repositioning; Metformin; NSAIDs; Ovarian Cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Antiparasitic Agents / pharmacology
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / drug therapy*
  • Diphosphonates / pharmacology
  • Drug Repositioning / economics
  • Drug Repositioning / trends*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Itraconazole / pharmacology
  • Ivermectin / pharmacology
  • Metformin / pharmacology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Antiparasitic Agents
  • Diphosphonates
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Itraconazole
  • Ivermectin
  • Metformin