Drug Shows Promise in Treating Cervical Cancer

Investigational medication may lead to a promising future for the treatment of the disease.

Investigational medication may lead to a promising future for the treatment of the disease.

Researchers in Europe discovered that adding an investigational agent to standard chemotherapy may be beneficial in the treatment of metastatic or recurrent cervical cancer.

In a study led by researchers at the University of Leicester, with collaboration from the universities of Glasgow, Manchester, and Edinburgh, AstraZeneca’s experimental drug cediranib showed promise when combined with a chemotherapy regimen, which may pave the way for future oncology treatments.

"Cancers develop their own blood supply and cancers of the cervix with a well-developed blood supply can have a particularly bad outcome for the patient,” Professor Paul Symonds of the University of Leicester, said in a press release. "One of the substances which increase new blood vessels in cervical cancer is Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). The experimental drug cediranib blocks the receptor for VEGF in the cancer, potentially limiting its growth in the body. Targeting the tumor blood supply seems the way forward to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy in cervical cancer."

The study evaluated 2 groups of patients with recurrent or secondary cervical cancer who were given conventional chemotherapy with carboplatin and paclitaxel, in addition to either cediranib or placebo.

Patients who received chemotherapy with cediranib showed tumor shrinkage of 66%, compared with 42% in those in the chemotherapy and placebo group. There was also found to be an increase in median progression-free survival rates.

Researchers will next conduct an individual patient analysis to examine the outcome and VEGF levels.

"We will also be looking at different biomarkers,” Symonds said. “We want to find out why a significant number of patients live far longer than we thought they would."