Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of mortality amongst all gynecological cancers in the Western countries. Most ovarian cancers respond to platinum-based therapy. However relapses occur after certain phases of platinum-based therapies.
Olaparib, an experimental chemotherapeutic agent, is a poly-adenosine diphosphate ribose inhibitor showing anti-tumor activity amongst patients with BRCA1/2 mutations. BRCA1/2 mutations predispose patients to certain types of breast and ovarian cancers.
AdvertisementDr. Jonathan Ledermann and co-researchers conducted a phase-2 trial funded by AstraZeneca and evaluated the efficacy of Olaparib in the maintenance treatment in patients with platinum-sensitive relapsed high-grade serous ovarian cancer. A standard approach to treat high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma includes cyto-reductive therapy followed by platinum-based therapy.
The study involved 265 patients, 136 of whom were assigned Olaparib and 129 were placed on placebo.
Olaparib was administered at a dose of 400 mg twice daily. The researchers noted a significant improvement in the progression-free survival rate with Olaparib. However, it was also noted that there was no overall survival benefit.
The toxicity profile of Olaparib was found to be similar to the previous study outcomes.
Reference: Olaparib Maintenance Therapy in Platinum-Sensitive Relapsed Ovarian Cancer; Jonathan Ledermann et al; N Engl J Med 2012; 366:1382-1392.