In its rise to becoming the top gynecologic oncology clinical trial site in New York for patient recruitment, Perlmutter Cancer Center has participated in a number of significant studies to evaluate new therapies for gynecologic cancers, including these three.
Ovarian Cancer: Targeted Therapy
NYU Langone was part of the multicenter phase 3 PRIMA trial, testing a targeted therapy, niraparib, that blocks cancer cells with damaged DNA from repairing themselves. The results, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, with Dr. Bhavana Pothuri, director of gynecologic oncology clinical trials, as an author, showed substantial improvement in preventing or delaying recurrence among patients diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer, leading to the medication’s approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2020. Dr. Pothuri received consulting compensation from GlaxoSmithKline, which manufactures niraparib.
Cervical Cancer: Immunotherapy
The multicenter phase 3 EMPOWER trial examined the effect of the immunotherapy drug cemiplimab on patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer. The drug stops cancer cells from neutralizing T-cells, thus strengthening the body’s immune response. The study showed that the medication reduced mortality by 31 percent and disease progression by 25 percent compared with chemotherapy alone, results that will likely lead to FDA approval. “The trial ended early because the benefit of the immunotherapy was so evident,” notes Dr. Pothuri.
Endometrial Cancer: Immunotherapy and Chemotherapy
A phase 3 study at NYU Langone examines whether the addition of the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab, in combination with two standard chemotherapy drugs, improves outcomes among patients with stage 3, stage 4, or recurrent endometrial cancer. Results are pending, but Dr. Leslie Boyd, director of gynecologic oncology at Perlmutter Cancer Center, is optimistic. “Many patients benefit from chemotherapy or a targeted therapy combined with an immunotherapy, which helps boost the immune system,” says Dr. Boyd.