Treatment with the drug decitabine prior to administration of chemotherapy and a cancer vaccine yielded clinical benefit for women with recurrent ovarian cancer, suggesting that this combination may provide a new treatment option, according to a study published in Cancer Immunology Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
A prerequisite for a patient’s immune system to recognize and attack his or her tumor is the presence of high levels of a protein not normally found in the patient’s healthy cells. Proteins with this profile are called tumor antigens and can be good targets for anticancer vaccines.
Dr. Kunle Odunsi was principal investigator of the study. He is the M. Steven Piver professor and chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology, and director of the Center for Immunotherapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
“We propose that patients should actively seek these kinds of combination therapies,” Odunsi said in a news release. “Even though the majority of these types of therapies are experimental at this point, there is enough scientific and clinical evidence to indicate that they are likely to be beneficial.”