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PARP inhibitor treatment could be effective in 20% of breast cancers

A drug known as a Parp Inhibitor, which is already used to help those with a genetic gene deficiency, could also be effective in 20% of breast cancers.

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parp inhibitor cancer

X-ray mammogram image of breast with cancer. Photo: Shutterstock

Parp inhibitor breast cancer

A drug known as a Parp Inhibitor, which is already used to help those with a genetic gene deficiency, could also be effective in 20% of breast cancers.

People born with a mutated BRCA gene, famously carried by film star Angelina Jolie, have higher risks of developing the disease.

Jolie, 41, had a double mastectomy to reduce her chances of breast cancer, after discovering she carried the BRCA1 mutation.

These faults stop cells repairing their DNA when it becomes damaged, which raises the risk of certain types of cancer, particularly breast and ovarian.

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Previous PARP inhibitor studies focused on women with a strong family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, or a personal or family history of a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

In this new study, British researchers analyzed the breast cancer genomes of 560 patients and looked for every single type of mutation possible.

They discovered many had mutational “signatures” that were identical to people with faulty BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes even though they had not inherited the mutations.

The results, which were published in Nature Medicine, suggested that thousands of “common” breast cancers are similar to rarer cases involving BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.

This means a much larger patient group could benefit from existing PARP inhibitor treatment.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, from Breast Cancer Now, called the early results “a revelation”.

“Crucially, this study is an early but encouraging step towards being able to offer women treatments targeted to the genetic make-up of their breast cancer,” she said.

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Parp inhibitor olaparib

Olaparib (AZD 2281) is an FDA-approved oral PARP inhibitor used to treat people who have BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.

In patients with BRCA-mutated cancers, olaparib blocks vital PARP-mediated tumor cell DNA repair mechanisms, leading to “synthetic lethality” and selective tumor cell death.

Olaparib has been shown to be effective for the treatment of numerous advanced cancers caused by BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.

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Editor’s Note: We strongly encourage you to talk to your doctor about the safe use of Olaparib. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational but is not a substitute for medical advice.

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