Dual Actions of Ketorolac in Metastatic Ovarian Cancer. Academic Article Review uri icon


  • Cytoreductive surgery and chemotherapy are cornerstones of ovarian cancer treatment, yet disease recurrence remains a significant clinical issue. Surgery can release cancer cells into the circulation, suppress anti-tumor immunity, and induce inflammatory responses that support the growth of residual disease. Intervention within the peri-operative window is an under-explored opportunity to mitigate these consequences of surgery and influence the course of metastatic disease to improve patient outcomes. One drug associated with improved survival in cancer patients is ketorolac. Ketorolac is a chiral molecule administered as a 1:1 racemic mixture of the S- and R-enantiomers. The S-enantiomer is considered the active component for its FDA indication in pain management with selective activity against cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes. The R-enantiomer has a previously unrecognized activity as an inhibitor of Rac1 (Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate) and Cdc42 (cell division control protein 42) GTPases. Therefore, ketorolac differs from other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by functioning as two distinct pharmacologic entities due to the independent actions of each enantiomer. In this review, we summarize evidence supporting the benefits of ketorolac administration for ovarian cancer patients. We also discuss how simultaneous inhibition of these two distinct classes of targets, COX enzymes and Rac1/Cdc42, by S-ketorolac and R-ketorolac respectively, could each contribute to anti-cancer activity.

publication date

  • July 2019