Opinion | Published:

Rethinking ovarian cancer: recommendations for improving outcomes

Nature Reviews Cancer volume 11, pages 719725 (2011) | Download Citation


There have been major advances in our understanding of the cellular and molecular biology of the human malignancies that are collectively referred to as ovarian cancer. At a recent Helene Harris Memorial Trust meeting, an international group of researchers considered actions that should be taken to improve the outcome for women with ovarian cancer. Nine major recommendations are outlined in this Opinion article.

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The authors would like to thank the Ovarian Cancer Action, its Chair, A. Kaye, its staff and its many supporters, without whose drive and generosity the Helene Harris Memorial Trust meetings would not be possible. The authors also thank K. Swenerton, Cheryl Brown Outcomes Unit, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Canada, for providing some of the data in Figure 1 and for the concept of Figure 3. Further acknowledgements and sources of funding for some of the authors of this article can be found in the Supplementary information S1 (text) (see Further information).

Author information

Author notes

    • Sebastian Vaughan
    •  & Jermaine I. Coward

    S. V. and J. I. C. are joint first authors.

    • David D. Bowtell
    •  & Frances R. Balkwill

    D. D. B. and F. R. B. are joint senior authors.


  1. David D. Bowtell is at the Cancer Genomics and Genetics Program, Principal Investigator Australian Ovarian Cancer Study, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Department of Biochemistry, University of Melbourne, Locked Bag 1 ABeckett Street, Melbourne 8006, Victoria, Australia.

    • David D. Bowtell
  2. Sebastian Vaughan, Hani Gabra and Euan A. Stronach are at the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre, Imperial College London Hammersmith Campus, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK.

    • Sebastian Vaughan
    • , Hani Gabra
    •  & Euan A. Stronach
  3. Jermaine I. Coward is at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Fulham Road, London SW3 6JJ, UK.

    • Jermaine I. Coward
  4. Robert C. Bast Jr is at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Ovarian Cancer Research Laboratory, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.

    • Robert C. Bast Jr
  5. Andy Berchuck is at the Duke University Medical Center, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, DUMC 3079, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.

    • Andy Berchuck
  6. Jonathan S. Berek is at the Stanford Women's Cancer Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

    • Jonathan S. Berek
  7. James D. Brenton is at the Cancer Research UK, Li Ka Shing Centre, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 0RE, UK.

    • James D. Brenton
  8. George Coukos is at the University of Pennsylvania, Center for Research on Women's Health, Room 1315 BRB II/III, 421 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.

    • George Coukos
  9. Christopher C. Crum is at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02445, USA.

    • Christopher C. Crum
  10. Ronny Drapkin is at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, JFB 215D, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.

    • Ronny Drapkin
  11. Dariush Etemadmoghadam is at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, St Andrew's Place, East Melbourne 3002, Australia.

    • Dariush Etemadmoghadam
  12. Michael Friedlander is at the Prince of Wales Cancer Centre, Department of Medical Oncology, Barker Street, Randwick 2031, Australia.

    • Michael Friedlander
  13. Stan B. Kaye is at the Institute of Cancer Research/Royal Marsden Hospital, Section of Medicine, Downs Road, Sutton SM2 5PT, UK.

    • Stan B. Kaye
  14. Chris J. Lord is at the Institute of Cancer Research, Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Institute, 237 Fulham Road, London SW3 6JB, UK.

    • Chris J. Lord
  15. Ernst Lengyel is at the University of Chicago Medical Center, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 2050, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.

    • Ernst Lengyel
  16. Douglas A. Levine is at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, New York 10021, USA.

    • Douglas A. Levine
  17. Iain A. McNeish is at the Queen Mary University of London, Barts Cancer Institute, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK.

    • Iain A. McNeish
  18. Usha Menon is at the University College London Elizabeth Garrett Institute of Women's Health, Euston Road, London NW1 2BU, UK.

    • Usha Menon
  19. Gordon B. Mills is at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.

    • Gordon B. Mills
  20. Kenneth P. Nephew is at the Indiana University School of Medicine, 1001 E. Third Street, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA.

    • Kenneth P. Nephew
  21. Amit M. Oza is at the Princess Margaret Hospital, 5th Floor Rm 5-717, 610 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M9, Canada.

    • Amit M. Oza
  22. Anil K. Sood is at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Departments of Gynecologic Oncology and Cancer Biology, Unit 1362, P.O. BOX 301439, Houston, Texas 77230, USA.

    • Anil K. Sood
  23. Henning Walczak is at the Division of Immunology and Inflammation, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, UK.

    • Henning Walczak
  24. Frances R. Balkwill is at the Queen Mary University of London, Centre for Cancer and Inflammation, Charterhouse Square, Barts and the London Medical School, London EC1M 6BQ, UK.

    • Frances R. Balkwill


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Competing interests

R.C.B. receives royalties for CA125 from Fujirebio Diagnostics Inc. He serves on external advisory boards for Vermillion and Illumina. S.B.K. is a member of the Astra Zeneca advisory board. C.J.L. is a named inventor on patents regarding the use of PARP inhibitor and stands to financially gain under the ICR 'Rewards to Inventors' scheme. U.M. has received grants from the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the European Union, the Eve Appeal and the NIHR, UK. U.M. holds stock in Abcodia Ltd, has received travel funds from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and Abbott, and has research collaborations with Becton Dickinson.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David D. Bowtell.

Supplementary information

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  1. 1.

    Supplementary information S1 (text)

    Funding acknowledgements

  2. 2.

    Supplementary information S2 (table)

    Delegates in attendance at the Helene Harris Memorial Trust meeting in January 2011.

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