Targeted Therapy for Ovarian Cancer

A newer type of treatment for ovarian cancer is known as targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses a drug or substance to identify, then attack the cancerous cells while largely leaving the normal cells alone, undamaged. Targeted therapy is programmed to attack the cancer cells from the inside out, specifically the “programming” which makes cancer cells different from normal cells. While targeted therapies work in different ways from one another, all targeted therapies alter the way a cancer cell grows, repairs itself, divides and interacts with other cells. Two of the newest targeted ovarian cancer drugs are Bevacizumab (Avastin), and Olaparib (Lynparza). Additional information regarding these two drugs includes:

  • Bevacizumab is an angiogenesis inhibitor. For cancer cells to grow and spread, new blood vessels which nourish the tumor are essential. Bevacizumab binds to VEGF—the signal which tells new blood vessels to form. Once the drug binds to that particular signal, the cancer growth is stopped, or at least slowed. There have been very good results using Bevacizumab with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer, and there are currently clinical trials in the works which pairs Bevacizumab with chemotherapy. Unfortunately, although the drug does appear to slow or stop the growth of ovarian cancer, it does not seem to help women live longer. Bevacizumab is given via IV, every 2-3 weeks. Potential side effects of Bevacizumab include:
    • An increase in blood pressure;
    • Fatigue;
    • Unusual bleeding;
    • Chronic headaches;
    • Sores in the mouth;
    • Diarrhea;
    • Appetite loss, and
    • Low white blood cell counts.

Rarely, Bevacizumab can cause excessive blood clotting, severe bleeding, colon perforations, bowel or bladder fistulas and slow wound healing. When a fistula or perforation occurs, severe infection can result.

  • Olaparib is a poly-ribose polymerase inhibitor or PARP. BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes take a different pathway to repair DNA, but mutations of those genes can block those pathways. Olaparib blocks the PARP pathway, killing BRCA gene mutations. Olaparib is used in the treatment of advanced epithelial ovarian cancer, but only among patients with BRCA gene mutations—a very small portion of those women with ovarian cancer. Like Bevacizumab, while Olaparib has been shown to stop BRCA mutations from growing, or shrink the cancerous cells, it has not been shown to help women live longer. Olaparib is taken by mouth, twice a day. Side effects of Olaparib include:
    • Nausea;
    • Fatigue;
    • Appetite loss;
    • Muscle and joint pain;
    • Diarrhea;
    • Vomiting, and
    • In rare cases, the development of a blood cancer such as acute myeloid leukemia.

New targeted therapies for ovarian cancer are being developed and tested, although none have been approved for use yet.


Recent Verdicts in Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits: Is Baby Powder with Talc Carcinogenic?

Perhaps you have heard about the recent Johnson & Johnson talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits, and now have many questions regarding the safety of talcum powder (talc is found in baby powder with talc and in “Shower to Shower”) when used for feminine hygiene. Talcum powder cancer has had a considerable amount of research done on the subject since the 1970’s. At one point, talcum powder was considered dangerous, due to the fact that asbestos fibers were often found in talc. Mandates from the federal government ensured asbestos would no longer be found in talc, however because of the similarities between the two substances, there were additional concerns.


Researchers examined thirteen tumors from women with ovarian cancer, and found talc fibers in nine of them. Many studies done after that found a 30-40 percent increased risk of ovarian cancer among women who used talcum powder in the genital region. Many believe the talc fibers can migrate up through the vagina, the uterus and the fallopian tubes, landing in the ovaries where they cause inflammation. Inflammation is a known factor in the development of many different types of cancers. With more than 1,200 talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits currently filed against Johnson & Johnson, many wonder if the pharmaceutical giant will continue to deny there are any safety hazards associated with talcum powder.


In 2013 jurors found in favor of the plaintiff, Deane Berg, in the first J & J talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit, although no monetary award was granted. In February 2016, Missouri jurors awarded the family of Jackie Fox $72 million--$10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages—after Fox died from ovarian cancer about four months before the start of the trial. Then in early May, the third J & J trial ended with another Missouri jury awarding the plaintiff, Gloria Ristesund $55 million—$5 million in compensatory damages, and $50 million in punitive damages.


Legal Information for Victims of Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and you used talcum powder (talc is contained in baby powder with talc and in “Shower to Shower”) for feminine hygiene, it could be extremely beneficial for you to speak with an experienced talcum powder ovarian cancer lawyer. You could be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and potentially pain and suffering. It is likely you have many questions—if so, it could be advantageous to seek talcum powder ovarian cancer legal help.


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