March 21, 2018

Third Indication Approved to Receive Olaparib

13 January 2018, 06:01 | Israel Caldwell

Breast cancer survival not affected by faulty BRCA genes

New thinking on BRCA treatment

Susan Domchek, MD, executive director of the Basser Center for BRCA at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center and a national leader on the OlympiAD trials that led to FDA approval of olaparib for the treatment of breast cancer, is available today for phone and satellite uplink interviews related to the news. The mutations put women at greater risk of breast and ovarian cancers, with 45 to 90 per cent of women with the mutation developing breast cancer during their lifetime.

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes play a critical role maintaining the genetic stability of cells, and produce proteins responsible for repairing damaged DNA.

"It is the first time any drug has been approved to treat certain patients with metastatic breast cancer who have a "BRCA" gene mutation", the agency said in a statement released to the media. Half had breast-conserving surgery, half had a mastectomy, and fewer than 1% had no breast surgery. About 5 percent to 10 percent of patients with breast cancer have a BRCA mutation. "For the portion of the 155,000 women in the United States living with metastatic breast cancer who have an inherited BRCA mutation, today's news is encouraging". AstraZeneca and Merck are working together to deliver Lynparza as quickly as possible to more patients across multiple settings, including breast, ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. It is also approved in the USA for advanced ovarian cancer patients who have received at least three prior lines of chemo and maintenance treatment of ovarian cancer in patients who are in complete or partial response to platinum-based chemo, both BRCA-positive.

The researchers say that these findings could give women "more confidence and control" when making decisions about their treatment. Actually, those with a BRCA mutation had slightly higher survival rates for the first two years after diagnosis, in the case of patients with triple-negative breast cancer.

Young women with breast cancer who carry faulty BRCA genes are no less likely to survive than those without them, researchers have found.

Some women have previously made a decision to take preventative measures, such as pre-emptive mastectomies, when they discover they have faulty genes.

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The women's medical records were tracked for up to 10 years.

"However, our findings suggest that this surgery does not have to be immediately undertaken along with the other treatment".

This surgery did not appear to improve their chances of survival at the 10-year mark.

Surgery may still be beneficial for patients to reduce their risk in the longer term, such as two to three decades after their initial diagnosis, she said.

Women who have had breast cancer are also more likely to be diagnosed with the disease a second time if they carry these genetic faults, which is why some choose to have risk-reducing surgery such as removing the breasts.

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