is BRCA Gene Mutation?
The BRCA genes are a
part of the genetic materials of all cells. They suppress the development of
cancer. If the gene undergoes mutation, the patient is at a higher risk for
breast cancer. It also increases the chances of developing cancer of the
ovaries, fallopian tubes and the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal wall
and abdominal organs. It is important to note however, that not all women with
the mutation will develop cancer.
‘The drug olaparib provides hope to BRCA mutation positive women with advanced stage ovarian cancer in Scotland.’
The mutated BRCA gene
may be inherited from one of the parents or appear for the first time. Regular
monitoring to detect any cancer early is necessary for
women who have the mutation. Some women with the mutation opt for surgical
removal of the breasts and ovaries with fallopian tubes before the cancer
Olaparib is a drug that
is used to treat advanced ovarian cancers
in women with the BRCA
mutation. It is classified as a PARP inhibitor and brings about tumor cell
death by inhibiting an enzyme that repairs damaged DNA. It is important to
establish through specific tests that the patient has the BRCA mutation before
the drug is used.
Olaparib is also being
investigated for its possible role in the treatment of other types of cancers
like brain and pancreatic cancer
Olaparib Cause Side Effects?
Side effects associated
with olaparib include suppression of the bone marrow resulting in reduced
number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, nausea and
vomiting, damage to the lung, and development of another cancer called
Myelodysplastic syndrome/acute myeloid
are the Implications of the Approval of Olaparib in Scotland?
With the approval from
the Scottish Medicines Consortium, women from Scotland will now be able to reap
the benefits of the drug as well. Olaparib can extend the lives of women with
incurable ovarian cancer by an average of seven months. This period could be
critical for women who are especially young with family and work commitments to
get the time to sort out various personal matters. Olaparib also allows the
patient to delay chemotherapy. Since it is available as an oral medication, the
woman does not have to visit the hospital for every dose.
2016 decisions news release - (https://www.scottishmedicines.org.uk/About_SMC/Latest_news/News_Articles/November_2016_decisions_news_release)
- BRCA1 and BRCA2: Cancer Risk and Genetic
Testing - (https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics/brca-fact-sheet)