Prexasertib Shrinks Ovarian Cancer Tumors in a Third of Phase 2 Trial Participants

Prexasertib Shrinks Ovarian Cancer Tumors in a Third of Phase 2 Trial Participants
The DNA repair inhibitor prexasertib shrank the tumors of a third of the ovarian cancer patients treated with it in a Phase 2 clinical trial, preliminary results show. Its developer, Eli Lilly, said the participants had recurring cancer that failed to respond to platinum-based chemotherapy. The specific form was high-grade serious ovarian carcinoma —or HGSOC — without BRCA gene mutations. The cancer of those whose tumors shrank did not progress for a median of 7 1/2 months after the start of treatment, researchers said. They said the therapy was particularly beneficial for women whose disease returned within six months of completing platinum-based chemo. The study, published in The Lancet Oncology, is titled “Prexasertib, a cell cycle checkpoint kinase 1 and 2 inhibitor, in BRCA wild-type recurrent high-grade serous ovarian cancer: a first-in-class proof-of-concept phase 2 study.” “I’m glad this new, promising drug may contribute to our patients’ benefit,” Dr. Jung-Min Lee, a trial investigator at the National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research, said in a press release. He was the lead author of the study. Prexasertib inhibits the checkpoint 1 and 2 proteins, CHK1 and CHK2. They pause the cell cycle — or process by which a cell divides into two cells — to repair DNA mutations that occur during the process. Because cancer cells divide at a faster pace, making them particularly susceptible to DNA errors, they have higher amounts of CHK1 and CHK2. Prexasertib binds to these proteins, preventing them from pausing the cell cycle. The accumulation of DNA errors in cancer cells eventually leads to their death. The Phase 2 trial (NCT02203513) was designed to test prexasertib's ability to help HGSOC patients, with o
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