FDA Approves Olaparib, a PARP Inhibitor, for BRCA+ Breast Cancer

New thinking on BRCA treatment

Gene mutation doesn't make women diagnosed with breast cancer more likely to die

If they get cancer and have standard treatment, they live as long as breast cancer patients without the mutation.

About 97 percent of women survived for more than two years after their diagnosis, while more than 83 percent and more than 70 percent survived for five and 10 years post-diagnosis, respectively.

All the women were tested for faulty BRCA genes. About 45 percent of women with faulty BRCA2 genes will.

"It can be hard for some patients to decide whether or not to have risk-reducing surgery, typically double mastectomies and removal of ovaries". Approximately 20% to 25% of patients with hereditary breast cancer and 5% to 10% of patients with any type of breast cancer have a BRCA mutation, according to the release.

"Women diagnosed with early breast cancer who carry a BRCA mutation are often offered double mastectomies soon after their diagnosis or chemotherapy treatment", said Diana Eccles of the University of Southampton. Drugs that impair estrogen receptor signaling, such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors, also reduce the risk of breast cancer among women at high risk.

Few studies have looked at whether these genes are linked with lower survival in young breast cancer patients, which this research aimed to address.

BRCA mutations are among dozens of other genetic mutations that raise the risk of breast or ovarian cancer.

AZN received good news today when the FDA approved LYNPARZA (olaparib) for HER2-negative breast cancer patients whose tumors harbor the BRCA mutation, the first such approval worldwide. This surgery did not appear to improve their chances of survival at the 10-year mark, according to the findings published in The Lancet Oncology.

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PALB2 - Works similarly to the BRCA genes.

It has been dubbed the "Angelina Jolie gene", after the actress revealed she underwent preventative surgery on learning she had an up to 87% chance of developing breast cancer.

BRCA2 - Mutations prevent DNA from repairing itself properly, leading to breast cancer.

Actor and director Angelina Jolie attends The 23rd Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 11, 2018 in Santa Monica, California.

However, the researchers noted the results might not translate to older women with a BRCA mutation, as they were not involved in the study and more research would be needed in this area.

"In the longer term, risk-reducing surgery should be discussed as an option for BRCA1 mutation carriers in particular, to minimise their future risk of developing a new breast or ovarian cancer".

Katherine Woods, from charity Breast Cancer Now said the findings "could enable many patients to make even more informed choices regarding their treatment".

This study included more than 2,700 women in the United Kingdom, aged 18 to 40, who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time.

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