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The MATAO trial for ovarian cancer patients is open for participation

The MATAO trial for ovarian cancer patients is open for participation

The first patients have joined the trial Matao, or MAintenance Therapy with Aromatase inhibitor in epithelial Ovarian Cancer). Matao is a clinical trial designed to treat women with epithelial ovarian cancer. In total, 540 patients will be recruited and treated in 20 Swiss, 30 German and 5 Austrian centres.  

 The trial evaluates maintenance treatment of epithelial ovarian cancer with letrozole, an aromatase inhibitor commonly used in breast cancer and recommended in ovarian cancer.  

Patients in this trial are randomly assigned to letrozole or placebo, to determine if letrozole maintenance therapy would improve progression free survival after primary treatment.

Towards better prognosis 

The prognosis of patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer is poor, with a 5-year overall survival rate of 20 to 30%, and a 5-year relapse rate of 75%.

Despite new treatment options in maintenance setting and subsequent increase on progression free survival, the overall survival remains poor and there is still a high relapse rate. This underlines the urge for the exploration of treatment options that will increase survival significantly, without decrease in quality of life.

Letrozole has been used extensively in the treatment of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.

Research has shown that a high percentage of epithelial ovarian cancers also express estrogen receptors (ER), which are an ideal target for hormonal therapies such as Letrozole. Preliminary results in several small groups of patients with heavily pre-treated ovarian cancer makes it a potentially potent drug in this disease. However, till now, it has not been evaluated for its use in the maintenance setting for ovarian cancer after standard of care.


The Anticancer Fund granted approximately 185,000 EUR (220,000 CHF) for the MATAO trial, which is organised by the Swiss GO Trial Group, supported by the German and Austrian Foundations for gyneacological cancers (AGO and AGO-Austria) and carried by ENGOT. The total cost of the study is around 2,022,000 EUR (2,191,039 CHF).

The Swiss GO Trial Group, a charitable Swiss association, aims to support women in the successful healing of gynaecological tumour diseases. Their clinical trials of interest cover, research, diagnosis, prevention as well as treatment of diseases in the area of the female genital organs.

ENGOT (European Network for Gynaecological Oncological Trial groups) is a research network of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ESGO), that coordinates and promotes clinical trials within Europe on patients with gynaecological cancer.

The Anticancer Fund decided to fund this trial as repurposing drugs for new cancer treatments and preventing tumour recurrence are 2 of the main missions of our foundation.

Read more about the trial here.

Find out more about drug repurposing here.