Fallopian Tube Cancer: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2013

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about fallopian tube cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

New treatments. Researchers continue to look for better treatments, including different combinations of the treatment options (surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy) described in Treatment Options.

Because fallopian tube cancer is uncommon, fallopian tube cancer-specific clinical trials may be hard to find. However, because it is similar to ovarian cancer, researchers are trying to determine if it can be treated similarly. Therefore, most clinical trials include patients with either ovarian or fallopian tube cancer.

Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to healthy cells.

Recent studies show that not all tumors have the same targets. Many research studies are taking place now to find out more about specific molecular targets and new treatments directed at them.

In several recent studies, adding the targeted therapy drug bevacizumab (Avastin) to chemotherapy and keeping patients on the drug after chemotherapy ends modestly increased the amount of time it takes for later-stage fallopian tube cancer and other cancers of a woman’s reproductive system to grow and spread. There were side effects such as high blood pressure, and damage to the intestines in some patients. Talk with your doctor about whether adding bevacizumab is a reasonable option for you.

In addition, ongoing research efforts are evaluating whether adding a class of drugs known as the PARP inhibitors (particularly in patients with the BRCA mutation) is helpful. Finally, clinical trials are underway which are evaluating drugs such as ipilimumab (Yervoy)  or PD-1 inhibitors that act by “removing the brakes” from the immune system and have been shown to help in early trials in a variety of cancer types. These and other clinical trials are available and can be found by searching the clinical trials links identified below or talking with your doctor.

Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of gynecologic cancers, including fallopian tube cancer, to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More About Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding fallopian tube cancer, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section addresses how to cope with the symptoms of the disease or the side effects of its treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Coping with Side Effects, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.