Preclinical studies have shown that hypomethylating agents reverse platinum resistance in ovarian cancer. In this phase II clinical trial, based upon the results of our phase I dose defining study, we tested the clinical and biologic activity of low-dose decitabine administered before carboplatin in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer patients. Among 17 patients with heavily pretreated and platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, the regimen induced a 35% objective response rate (RR) and progression-free survival (PFS) of 10.2 months, with nine patients (53%) free of progression at 6 months. Global and gene-specific DNA demethylation was achieved in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and tumors. The number of demethylated genes was greater (P < 0.05) in tumor biopsies from patients with PFS more than 6 versus less than 6 months (311 vs. 244 genes). Pathways enriched at baseline in tumors from patients with PFS more than 6 months included cytokine-cytokine receptor interactions, drug transporters, and mitogen-activated protein kinase, toll-like receptor and Jak-STAT signaling pathways, whereas those enriched in demethylated genes after decitabine treatment included pathways involved in cancer, Wnt signaling, and apoptosis (P < 0.01). Demethylation of MLH1, RASSF1A, HOXA10, and HOXA11 in tumors positively correlated with PFS (P < 0.05). Together, the results of this study suggest that low-dose decitabine altered DNA methylation of genes and cancer pathways, restoring sensitivity to carboplatin in patients with heavily pretreated ovarian cancer and resulting in a high RR and prolonged PFS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research