A new ovarian cancer treatment dramatically reduces the chances of the disease returning, a study has shown.
Doctors have hailed the results of a “breakthrough” trial which they say opens the possibility that many more women suffering the hard-to-treat disease can be cured.
Ovarian cancer has one of the worst survival rates, with just 35 per cent of women living 10 years or more after their diagnosis.
Even including the majority of patients who show no evidence of disease after initial treatment, which involves surgery and chemotherapy, around 70 per cent go on to relapse within three years.
But in the new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, two thirds of patients given a drug called olaparib made it to at least three years after treatment without relapsing.
Overall, half of those given the medication have so far showed no signs of the disease returning, despite the study starting in 2013.
Professor Charlie Gourley, director of ovarian cancer research at the University of Edinburgh, which ran the British arm of the international trial, said: “The most exciting finding is that more than half the patients on the olaparib arm have not relapsed with a minimum of three years of follow-up.
“This is unprecedented and raises the possibility that a number of these patients may be cured, although longer follow-up of patients is required before we can definitively draw this conclusion.”
Ovarian cancer, which affects 7,270 new women each year, is typically…