US FDA clears ovarian cancer drug for hard-to-treat disease

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health officials have approved a new option for some women battling ovarian cancer: a drug that targets a genetic mutation seen in some highly aggressive tumors.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the drug, Rubraca, from Clovis Oncology Inc. for women in advanced stages of the disease who have already tried at least two chemotherapy drugs. The Clovis drug targets a genetic mutation found in 15 to 20 percent of ovarian cancer patients. The FDA also approved a companion test that screens for the mutation.

About 1 percent of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. This year an estimated 14,240 women will die from the disease in the U.S.

Currently, the disease is treated with surgery or chemotherapy.

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