A preclinical study carried out at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR; London, UK) has highlighted the therapeutic potential of the drug dasatinib in a specific subset of ovarian cancer.
The study, published recently in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, details how dasatinib – which is already approved for the treatment of leukemia patients – halted ovarian clear cell carcinoma cell growth in mouse models.
Ovarian clear cell carcinoma represents between 5–25% of all ovarian cancers; in the UK > 7200 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, with 300 of those individuals being diagnosed with ovarian clear cell carcinoma. The disease currently has limited treatment options and responds poorly to standard chemotherapy agents.
After uncovering a genetic mutation in the ARID1A gene that could represent a potential target in the disease, the ICR team tested 68 different agents on cancer cells with or without the mutation, eventually concluding that ARID1A mutation induced dasatinib sensitivity both in vitro and in vivo.
The ARID1A mutation is found in approximately half of all ovarian clear cell carcinoma cases.
“…In our study, we found a drug that could be effective in a group of patients who carry mutations to a particular gene in their tumors,” commented investigator Chris Lord (ICR). “The next step will be to test whether this drug is effective in ovarian cancer patients. If it is, we’ll be able to get this drug to patients relatively fast as it’s already approved for other types of cancer and we know it’s safe.”
Sources: Miller RE, Brough R, Bajrami I et al. Synthetic Lethal Targeting of ARID1A-Mutant Ovarian Clear Cell Tumors with Dasatinib. Mol Cancer Ther. DOI: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-15-0554 (2016) [Epub ahead of print]; Cancer Research UK press release