Doctors at the University of Arizona Cancer Centre at St Joseph's Hospital said the new treatment can improve response rates (increase the rate of tumour shrinkage) and delay cancer progression.
"Trebananib is a first-in-class peptide-Fc fusion protein (or peptibody) that targets angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels into cancerous tumours) by inhibiting the binding of both angiopoietin 1 and 2 to the Tie2 receptor," researchers said.
This is very different mechanism of action than other agents that also effect angiogenesis by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) such as bevacizumab, they said.
Researchers said Trebananib does not increase the risks of hypertension and bowel perforation like bevaciuzmab, but still has a similar impact on tumour shrinkage and delaying cancer progression.
A randomised clinical trial added trebananib or placebo to standard chemotherapy (weekly paclitaxel) among 919 women with recurrent ovarian cancer patient from 179 sites in 32 countries.
The trial, dubbed TRINOVA-1, was run by Professor Bradley J Monk who directs the Division of Gynaecologic Oncology at the University of Arizona Cancer Centre at St Joseph's in Phoenix.
"This is an exciting new targeted medication in treating recurrent ovarian cancer. Recurrent ovarian cancer is almost always fatal and new treatments are desperately needed," said Monk.
"TRINOVA-1 also showed that angiogenesis is a complex process in oncology and many new targets like angiopoietin 1/2 will allow us to more effectively inhibit the growth of new blood vessels that are necessary for cancer growth, metastases and progression.
"If we can stop cancers from growing by choking off their blood supply, we can help our patients feel better and live longer," Monk said.
Amgen, the manufacturer of trebananib has not yet filed this agent with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but has enrolled two other ovarian cancer phase III trials that have not yet had reported results.