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Olaparib gene has anti-tumour effect

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Two concept trials of a drug hoped to fight advanced ovarian or breast cancer have found olaparib has an anti-tumour effect in carriers of the gene mutations BRCA1 or BRCA2.

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The concept-proofing trials back other studies suggesting that treatment of such cancers be led by shared genetic defects rather than organ of origin.

Around 10% of women with ovarian cancer and up to 5% of women with breast cancer carry a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which presents a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer, articles published online in The Lancet explain.

An international team led by Andrew Tutt (Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit, King’s College London School of Medicine, London, UK), conducted two proof-of-concept trials to assess the efficacy and safety of olaparib for treatment of advanced ovarian or breast cancer in patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

Findings indicated better treatment response with the higher dose of olaparib compared with lower dose in both trials.

In both the ovarian and breast cancer studies, olaparib was generally well tolerated, with most adverse events being low grade.

In the report on ovarian cancer, first author M William Audeh (Samuel Oschin Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles, CA, USA) and colleagues explain. “The results of this phase 2 study show that the oral PARP inhibitor olaparib, given as monotherapy at a dose of 400 mg twice daily, has anti-tumour activity in heavily pre-treated carriers of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation who have recurrent ovarian cancer.”

See the Lancet article by clicking here.

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