Purpose of review: Sensitivity testing in ovarian cancer to individualize therapy remains an active area of interest and this has been renewed recently by results from several groups. The clinical results of assay-directed therapy are invariably better than would be expected from empirical treatment, but it has proved difficult to get these tests into practice.
Recent findings: Several recent studies suggest that cellular individualized tumour response tests, particularly the ATP-based tumour chemosensitivity assay, can improve the chance of response and probably survival for individual patients. Most tumour response tests show excellent correlation with clinical resistance, but vary in their ability to predict sensitivity. Molecular assays of sensitivity and resistance are less developed in ovarian cancer than in breast cancer, but those using multiple gene signatures show considerable promise.
Summary: Individualized therapy has the ability to guide the use of chemotherapy as well as newer agents. The development of companion diagnostics for drugs used in ovarian cancer has considerable potential for the future and such assays are already proving useful where there is clinical evidence of equivalence between possible treatments.