SMH Participates in National Study Assessing Treatments to Prevent Ovarian Cancer
– While ovarian cancer is relatively rare, it is the fifth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. It is a stealthy disease, with no proven screening tests to help with early detection and no noticeable symptoms until its later stages when the cancer is harder to treat.
That’s why the Sarasota Memorial Research Institute is among 318 research sites across the nation participating in a clinical trial aimed at preventing ovarian cancer in women at high risk for the disease.
“At Sarasota Memorial, we have multiple trials looking at targeted therapies for ovarian cancer, but this one is probably the most exciting because prevention is better than treatment,” said SMH gynecologic oncologist Beverly Long, MD, principal investigator of the SMH study. “The study is designed to help determine the next best preventable surgery for premenopausal women with a genetic mutation that markedly increases their risk of dying from ovarian cancer.”
Known as the SOROCk trial, the study will assess whether removing the fallopian tubes (bilateral salpingectomy) reduces the risk of ovarian cancer among premenopausal women with inherited BRCA1 mutations as effectively as removing both the ovaries and fallopian tubes (bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy). The current standard of care is to remove both the ovaries and fallopian tubes at the same time, which is highly effective but comes with significant side effects and long-term problems.
Over the next 10 years, researchers will collect data from more than 2,000 premenopausal women (age 35-50) with the BRCA1 mutation, comparing the clinical outcomes of those who opt to remove their fallopian tubes and ovaries with those who choose to remove only their fallopian tubes. Women who choose the latter can opt to remove their ovaries later and still be part of the trial. The study excludes women who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or have a prior history of ovarian cancer.
“Since ovarian cancer typically starts in the fallopian tubes, the study will help determine if we can prevent the cancer with a faster, low-risk procedure that doesn’t induce premature menopause, which will improve the quality of life for patients undergoing these risk-reducing procedures,” said Sarasota Memorial Chief Medical Officer James Fiorica, MD, who credits the experience and expertise of SMH’s research team for bringing yet another important study to local patients.
For more information about the SOROCk trial or other clinical trials, contact the Sarasota Memorial Research Institute at (941) 917-2225.