A novel pharmacologic activity of ketorolac for therapeutic benefit in ovarian cancer patients. Academic Article uri icon


  • We previously identified the R-enantiomer of ketorolac as an inhibitor of the Rho-family GTPases Rac1 and Cdc42. Rac1 and Cdc42 regulate cancer-relevant functions including cytoskeleton remodeling necessary for tumor cell adhesion and migration. This study investigated whether administration of racemic (R,S) ketorolac after ovarian cancer surgery leads to peritoneal distribution of R-ketorolac, target GTPase inhibition in cells retrieved from the peritoneal cavity, and measureable impact on patient outcomes.Eligible patients had suspected advanced stage ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer. Secondary eligibility was met when ovarian cancer was confirmed and optimally debulked, an intraperitoneal port was placed, and there were no contraindications for ketorolac administration. R- and S-ketorolac were measured in serum and peritoneal fluid, and GTPase activity was measured in peritoneal cells. A retrospective study correlated peri-operative ketorolac and ovarian cancer-specific survival in ovarian cancer cases.Elevated expression and activity of Rac1 and Cdc42 was detected in ovarian cancer patient tissues, confirming target relevance. Ketorolac in peritoneal fluids was enriched in the R-enantiomer and peritoneal cell GTPase activity was inhibited after ketorolac administration when R-ketorolac was at peak levels. After adjusting for age, AJCC stage, completion of chemotherapy, and neo-adjuvant therapy, women given peri-operative ketorolac had a lower hazard of death (Hazard Ratio=0.30 [95%CI 0.11-0.88]).Ketorolac has a novel pharmacologic activity conferred by the R-enantiomer and R-ketorolac achieves sufficient levels in the peritoneal cavity to inhibit Rac1 and Cdc42, potentially contributing to the observed survival benefit in women who received ketorolac.Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.

publication date

  • June 2015