Breakthrough Drug Prevents Ovarian Cancer Return

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Munich was recently host to one of the most prestigious medical conventions of the year, the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress. It was here that AstraZeneca, one of the leading global pharmaceutical companies, decided to reveal the results of their recent phase III SOLO-1 trials, which some called “substantial and unprecedented”.

Used as maintenance therapy, Olaparib (marketed under the name Lynparaza) showed an impressive progression-free survival (PFS) and a risk reduction of disease progression or death by 60%. These numbers are even more significant considering that 70% of women relapse within the first three years after their initial treatment.

In a press release Sean Bohen, Executive Vice President noted that “the remarkable results of the SOLO-1 trial, which showed that 60% of women with newly diagnosed, advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer remained progression-free at three years, highlight the potential of Lynparza as a maintenance therapy in the 1st-line setting”.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce proteins responsible for repairing damaged DNA and play an important role in maintaining the genetic stability of cells. If a mutation occurs, the altered cells can divide uncontrollably and lead to cancer. Lynparza works as a PARP (poly ADP ribose polymerase) inhibitor that specifically targets cells that have BRCA mutations.

Kathleen Moore, Co-Principal Investigator of the project said that “women with ovarian cancer are often diagnosed with advanced disease, which unfortunately is associated with poor long-term survival rates. The newly-diagnosed setting is our best opportunity to achieve a sustained remission, since once a patient’s ovarian cancer recurs, it is typically incurable”.

This type of targeted approach that also helps fight recurrence is exactly the sort of treatment patients should expect going forward.

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