New Ovarian Cancer Drug Looks Promising
An experimental drug shown to be effective in treating ovarian cancer in patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations appears to be effective in some patients without the mutations as well, WebMD reports.
The drug Olaparib is one of several experimental treatments that block the activity of the protein PARP, which, like BRCA, is involved in DNA repair.
The new study is the first to suggest that PARP inhibitors may prove effective in a broader group of patients with non-inherited cancers who have few treatment options, lead researcher Karen Gelmon, MD, of Vancouver, Canada’s BC Cancer Agency, told WebMD.
The study included 65 ovarian cancer patients and 26 breast cancer patients with highly aggressive, advanced forms of the diseases. Prior to entering the study, the patients had been treated with an average of three different chemotherapy regimens. Some of the participants had received as many as 10 different treatments.
Additionally, some of the patients carried the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations while others did not.
All of the participants were given 400 milligrams of olaparib twice a day for a month between July 2008 and September 2009. After four weeks, 41 percent of the ovarian cancer patients with BRCA mutations and 24 percent of those without a mutation showed substantial tumor shrinkage.