Clinical trials offer expanded treatment for ovarian cancer


While ovarian cancer is not the most common cancer in women, it is the deadliest. It is often diagnosed at later stages due to its symptoms that may appear common, such as constipation, bloating, or weight gain.

A combination of surgery and chemotherapy is the standard of care across the country for treating patients with ovarian cancer. At Mayo Clinic, physicians also explore clinical trials to offer expanded treatment options.

“We are constantly looking for clinical trial options to basically give our patients a therapy that we think will be better than the current standard of care, but we haven't proven it to be better yet,” says Mayo Clinic medical oncologist John Weroha, M.D., Ph.D.

A common misconception among patients, explains Dr. Weroha, is that clinical trials are a last resort.

“That is absolutely not true,” says Dr. Weroha. “What we do at Mayo, and really everywhere else, is we try to bring clinical trials to our patients, not because we want to test whether or not this brand-new drug works, but we already believe the drug works.”

Many advancements have been made over the last 10 years in ovarian cancer clinical trials. Drugs such as PARP inhibitors and antibody drug conjugates are producing promising results.

“I would say over the last decade, there has been a huge shift in the way that we treat ovarian cancer. I think the biggest impact has come from a family of drugs called PARP inhibitors. This family of drugs have completely revolutionized the way we treat ovarian cancer from the initial diagnosis, through the recurrence, and through the entire spectrum really of ovarian cancer treatment.”

Hear more from Dr. Weroha about the latest treatments for ovarian cancer on the “Mayo Clinic Q&A” podcast.

Luci Gens

Luci Gens is a senior marketing specialist. She joined Mayo Clinic in 2022 and has over ten years of experience in hospital-based marketing and communications.