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World J Biol Chem. 2010 Jul 26;1(7):209-20. doi: 10.4331/wjbc.v1.i7.209.

Targeted therapies in epithelial ovarian cancer: Molecular mechanisms of action.

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Hiroaki Itamochi, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tottori University School of Medicine, 36-1 Nishicho, Yonago 683-8504, Japan.


Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death in women with gynecological cancer. Most patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage and have a poor prognosis. Currently, surgical tumor debulking, followed by platinum- and taxane-based chemotherapy is the standard treatment for advanced ovarian cancer. However, these patients are at great risk of recurrence and emerging drug resistance. Therefore, novel treatment strategies are required to improve outcomes for women with advanced ovarian cancer. A variety of molecular targeted agents, the majority of which are monoclonal antibodies and small-molecule protein-kinase inhibitors, have been explored in the management of ovarian cancer. The targets of these agents include angiogenesis, the human epidermal growth factor receptor family, ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, epigenetic modulators, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway, which are aberrant in tumor tissue. The antiangiogenic agent, bevacizumab, has been reported as the most effective targeted agent and should be included in the standard chemotherapeutic regimen for advanced ovarian cancer. PARP inhibitors, which are mainly used in breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene-mutated patients, and mTOR inhibitors are also attractive treatment strategies, either alone or combination with chemotherapy, for ovarian cancer. Understanding the tumor molecular biology and identification of predictive biomarkers are essential steps for selection of the best treatment strategies. This article reviews the molecular mechanisms of the most promising targeted agents that are under early phase clinical evaluation for ovarian cancer.


Epithelial ovarian cancer; Molecular target; Monoclonal antibody; Small-molecule inhibitor; Targeted therapy

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