Study highlights:

  • Phase 2 clinical trial evaluates the effectiveness of a drug, Olaparib, in the treatment of breast and ovarian cancer without BRCA gene mutations.
  • The first study to demonstrate the effectiveness of the single agent PARP inhibitor in patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer without germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.
  • Treatment with PARP inhibitor Olaparib represents a promising therapeutic option for patients with this aggressive malignant disease
  • Among women in the study with ovarian cancer, 41 per cent with BRCA mutations showed a substantial shrinkage in the size of their tumours compared with 24 per cent of patients without mutations. This is a substantial number responding as these women had aggressive advanced previously treated cancers.
  • This study provides compelling evidence to warrant further clinical trials in this patient population.
     

Vancouver, BC - Clinicians at the BC Cancer Agency released promising clinical trial results in treating women with high-grade serous ovarian cancer with PARP inhibitors.

For the first time, scientists and clinicians were able to reduce tumour size in both BRCA positive patients and patients without the germline genetic mutation related to breast and ovarian cancer.

The findings, published in The Lancet Oncology, highlight the potential for future clinical studies in treating women with high grade serous ovarian cancer with Olaparib.
“Olaparib represents a promising therapeutic option for patients with this aggressive malignant disease for whom treatment options are limited and often involve toxic chemotherapies,” says Dr. Karen Gelmon, medical oncologist with the BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority.

The study looked at 92 patients; 65 with ovarian cancer and 26 with breast cancer over a 14 month period.

Among women with ovarian cancer, 41 per cent with hereditary tumours showed a substantial shrinkage in the size of their tumours compared with 24 per cent of patients with non-hereditary tumours. This is a substantial number responding as these women had aggressive advanced previously treated cancers.

“New treatments targeting DNA repair mechanisms seem to provide new hope for treatment of ovarian cancer,” continues Dr. Gelmon.

The findings are important as clinicians seek answers for more effective treatment options for patients with non-hereditary forms of ovarian cancer.

Each year approximately, 2,500 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed annually affecting up to 1 in 70 Canadian women. High-grade serous carcinoma is the most common form of ovarian cancer, accounting for 70 per cent of diagnosis and 90 per cent of advanced stage ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is often referred to as a ‘silent killer’ due to the few early symptoms—most women are diagnosed at a later stage when the disease has spread.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Allison Colina
Communications Specialist
604.707.5934
Allison.Colina@bccancer.bc.ca