A new study shows how the drug cuts the risk of recurrence, second cancers and death by 42%.
Here’s some fantastic news: a drug has been developed that significantly reduces the risk of recurrence of hereditary breast cancer caused by the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes following therapy.
The findings were so compelling and conclusive that the experiment was halted early after two and a half years, rather than the anticipated ten.
They discovered that 85.9 percent of patients treated with Olaparib stayed free of invasive breast cancer and subsequent malignancies, compared to 77.1 percent of patients treated with a placebo.
Olaparib, which targets a genetic flaw in cancer cells, has the potential to provide a new therapy option for women with inherited forms of high-risk early breast cancer — potentially saving more people.
Professor Andrew Tutt, an oncology professor at King’s College London, supervised over the experiment.
He said: “Our global academic and industry partnership has been able to help identify a possible new treatment for women with early stage breast cancer who have mutations in their BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
“Olaparib has the potential to be used as a follow-on to all the standard initial breast cancer treatments to reduce the rate of life-threatening recurrence and cancer spread for many patients identified through genetic testing to have mutations in these genes”.
He said that women who inherited BRCA mutations were often diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer at a younger age.
“Up to now there has been no treatment that specifically targets these mutations to reduce the risk of recurrence beyond the standard treatments available for early breast cancer,” Professor Tuttsays.
“This study, coordinated by the Breast International Group, shows that giving Olaparib for a year after chemotherapy to patients with BRCA mutations boosts the chances they will remain free of invasive or metastatic cancer.
“These results reinforce how collaborative research deepens our understanding of treating familial cancers and shows the value of testing for these mutations in patients with early breast cancer.”
Olaparib works by preventing cancer cells from repairing their DNA by blocking a protein called PARP – effectively killing cancer cells.
It is especially effective for individuals who have a defective version of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which are ordinarily engaged in another system for DNA repair.
Cancer cells are eliminated if they lack functional DNA repair factors such as PARP, BRCA1 or BRCA2.
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