Project Title: Endocrine and mTOR therapy in recurrent low-grade serous ovarian cancer
Research Institute: Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences
Principal Investigators: Doris M. Benbrook, PhD, and Christina Washington, MD
Estimated Cost for Project: $100,000
Funded by: STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation
STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation has awarded $100,000 to researchers at the Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences for a Phase 2 clinical trial to identify patients whose low-grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSOC) might respond to combination treatment of the mTOR inhibitor nab-sirolimus and the estrogen blocker Fulvestrant.
LGSOC cells are molecularly different from high-grade serous ovarian cancer cells and do not respond to the same treatments. Response to mTOR inhibitors has not been well studied compared to other LGSOC treatments, but clinical research has shown a synergistic effect when combined with endocrine therapy in hormonally driven cancers such as LGSOC.
The co-principal investigators are Doris M. Benbrook, PhD, a Presbyterian Health Foundation Presidential Professor tenured in the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine Section of Gynecologic Oncology, and Dr. Christina Washington, MD, Assistant Professor in the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine Section of Gynecologic Oncology, who is being mentored by internationally renowned clinical trialist Kathleen Moore, MD.
The researchers will collect and sequence the DNA of biopsies from patients enrolled in the trial to determine if genetic alterations can predict which patients would most likely benefit from the combined treatment and to gain greater understanding of the molecular determinants of low-grade serous ovarian cancer.
“I believe that our research will produce results and generate new hypotheses that can be studied and validated in future trials to improve the outcomes of women suffering from low-grade serous ovarian cancer,” Dr. Benbrook said.
STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation is the only U.S.-based nonprofit dedicated to low-grade serous ovarian cancer. It was founded in 2020 by three women with LGSOC.