JUL 08, 2019 03:35 PM PDT

This Ovarian Cancer Drug Prolongs Life

WRITTEN BY: Julia Travers

Niraparib is a drug and a PARP inhibitor that targets cancer cells without harming others. PARP inhibitors keep PARP -- proteins that fix damaged DNA in cancer cells -- from doing their job. When PARP inhibitors work well, cancer cells’ cannot repair themselves and can die. These inhibitors are especially effective in ovarian cancer patients who have BRCA mutations. This is because women with these mutations have a condition called homologous recombination deficiency, in which cancer cells struggle to repair mistakes made in the process of dividing. PARP inhibitors make the repair process even more difficult for the cancer cells. But, even some women without a BRCA mutation have homologous recombination deficiency, so they can benefit from a PARP inhibitor like niraparib, as well. Most women with ovarian cancer do not have the BRCA mutation.

Cells dividing

A new study examines the effectiveness of niraparib for women without the BRCA mutation who have undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy. The study found a longer survival time was possible for these patients.

"There haven't been a lot of studies done on patients without BRCA mutations who have received four, five, six or more lines of chemotherapy. That's who this trial sought to study,” Gynecologic oncologist Kathleen Moore, M.D., said. She is the associate director of clinical research at the Stephenson Cancer Center at OU Medicine and the lead author for the study, which was published in The Lancet Oncology in May 2019.

About 27 percent of the women in the study who responded to their last chemotherapy treatment responded well to niraparib, with an average of more than nine months until the disease grew or spread. Participants in the study had an overall survival time of more than 20 months. Moore points out that any extra time is important for people with cancer. It gives them the opportunity to have more life experiences and, potentially, to stabilize and try a different drug or a clinical trial.

 

Ovaries illustration

 

“Our data support expansion of the treatment indication for poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors to include patients with HRD-positive ovarian cancer beyond those with BRCA mutations,” the authors conclude.

 

Learn more about PARP Inhibitors in the video below.

 

Source: EurekAlert, The Lancet Oncology

 
About the Author
  • Julia Travers is a writer, artist and teacher. She frequently covers science, tech and conservation.
You May Also Like
JAN 17, 2020
Cancer
JAN 17, 2020
New diagnostic tool for thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer diagnoses have risen in the last thirty years from 6 per 100,000 to more than 14 per 100,000. That’s according to the Surveillance, Ep...
JAN 17, 2020
Cancer
JAN 17, 2020
Looking to the depths of the human genome to understand cancer
Have you ever heard of dark matter? No, I’m not talking about the dark matter of the universe – I mean the dark matter that lives within your g...
JAN 17, 2020
Cancer
JAN 17, 2020
Using senolytics to treat cancer
New research published in Nature Metabolism proposes using an already existing drug – a cardiac glycoside called ouabain – as a senolytic to ki...
JAN 17, 2020
Immunology
JAN 17, 2020
Protecting Killer Immune Cells from Themselves
Destroying human cells compromised by viruses and cancer is the name of the game for so-called “killer” cells of the immune system. They employ...
JAN 17, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 17, 2020
New Drug to Make Breast Cancer Treatment More Affordable
The US Food and Drug Administration has granted accelerated approval to new breast cancer drug, trastuzumab deruxtecan. The drug’s increasing recogni...
JAN 17, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 17, 2020
New Drug Combo Reverses Breast Cancer
Researchers from Georgetown University have found that combining a drug used for epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and migraines with a drug used to ease blood p...
Loading Comments...