According to lead author Lorna Rodriguez, M.D., PhD [appearing in the right side photo], chief of gynecologic oncology at [The Cancer Institute of New Jersey] CINJ and associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the study of 30 patients so far shows that selenium can be safely given in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel. Furthermore, she notes, selenium may help treatment efficacy as indicated by four patients having complete disappearance of disease, and eight patients having their tumors decrease in size by more than 30 percent.
“New research findings from a top clinical investigator at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) indicate the potential for more targeted treatment of ovarian cancer, which is expected to claim more than 15,000 lives nationwide this year, with 480 in New Jersey. The study, to be presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago later this month, looks at the effects of a mineral called selenium in combination with the standard treatment for the disease. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Currently, the standard of care involves the drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel, which have shown the ability to shrink ovarian cancer tumors; however, that shrinkage may not last for a long period due to the development of drug resistance. Previous data shows that selenium inhibits the development of a tumor’s resistance to carboplatin. The current study couples selenium with the two drugs with the goal of preventing or slowing drug resistance.
According to lead author Lorna Rodriguez, M.D., PhD [appearing in the right side photo], chief of gynecologic oncology at CINJ and associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the study of 30 patients so far shows that selenium can be safely given in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel. Furthermore, she notes, selenium may help treatment efficacy as indicated by four patients having complete disappearance of disease, and eight patients having their tumors decrease in size by more than 30 percent. The results show that a serum marker [i.e., CD44] may predict which women will benefit from selenium therapy.
Dr. Rodriguez notes the findings could finally lead to more tailored treatment, ‘Because symptoms of ovarian cancer are often silent, many patients who are diagnosed with the disease are usually in an advanced stage. Having such a targeted treatment available to these patients could very well mean a longer survival outcome and increased quality of life.’
The CINJ team – which includes gynecologic oncologists Darlene Gibbon, M.D.; Mira Hellmann, M.D.; Wilberto Nieves-Neira, M.D.; and Ami Vaidya, M.D.; Director of Pharmacy, Susan Goodin, PharmD, FCCP, BCOP; pharmacologist Murugesan Gounder, Ph.D.; and research teaching specialist Neelakandan Muthukumaran – is planning Phase II studies for patients with ovarian and endometrial cancers in the future.
Rodriguez will be among the more than 30,000 cancer specialists from around the globe, who will showcase advances in clinical research at the annual ASCO meeting.
About The Cancer Institute of New Jersey
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, and is dedicated to improving the prevention, detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer. CINJ’s physician-scientists engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice quite literally bringing research to life. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is a center of excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. To support CINJ, please call the Cancer Institute of New Jersey Foundation at 1-888-333-CINJ.”
[Quoted Source: New Treatment Implications for Ovarian Cancer Unveiled, NewsWire Medical News Release dated May 16, 2008].
Comment: This study shows promise for the use of selenium, carboplatin (Paraplatin®) and paclitaxel (Taxol®) as a potential “revised” standard of care, albeit only a small study. If the serum marker CD44 can ultimately identify those patients that will respond to this combination at the earliest point in treatment, this triple agent combination can be used as a “targeted” or “personalized” therapy. It is important to note that the selenium used in this study was administered intravenously at various dosages and was not administered as an oral vitamin supplement.
- 2008 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting Study Abstract: Serum CD44 levels and response to selenium-based therapy in patients with gynecologic cancers; L. Rodriguez, et. al., J. Clin. Oncol. 26: 2008 (May 20 suppl; abstr 2544).