Dr. John Farley, a gynecologic oncologist at the Creighton University School of Medicine at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, said the study was initially developed in 2007, with 52 patients enrolled for the Phase II clinical trial between December 2007 and November 2009.
Patients were given 50 milligrams of selumetinib orally twice daily. Of those participants, eight had a measurable decrease in tumor size, seven had partial responses and 34 patients saw their tumors stabilize.
"There just aren't very good treatments for low-grade ovarian cancer, so this discovery opens up a lot of new exciting possibilities for us," Farley, the lead author, said in a statement.
Phase III of the trial is scheduled to begin in the next few weeks. This trial is to be the "definitive test" before the treatment becomes available to the general population, Farley said.
The findings were published in The Lancet Oncology.