PARP inhibitors represent an important new class of anticancer agents that are having a major impact on ovarian cancer treatment. These drugs target vulnerabilities in DNA damage response and repair pathways especially in cancer cells that have defects in BRCA and related genes.
In an important clinical development announced April 6, 2018, the FDA expanded indications for rucaparib, a PARP inhibitor, to include maintenance therapy for patients with recurrent ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancer who are in a complete or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy regardless of BRCA status. The approval is based on the findings of the ARIEL3 study which showed that patients who received rucaparib had significantly increased disease-free periods compared to patients who received a placebo. As expected, the disease free periods were longer in patients whose tumors have defects in BRCA or similar genes compared to those who did not, though both groups benefited compared to those who received placebo.
Prior to the results of ARIEL3, use of recaparib was restricted to patients with BRCA mutated cancer who had already been treated with two or more chemotherapies. The FDA’s expanded approval continues the trend of broader use of PARP inhibitors to improve treatment and outcomes for ovarian and similar cancers in women with and without BRCA mutation.
This blog post was contributed by:
Dr. Charles Drescher
Swedish Cancer Institute / Fred Hutch
Board Member, Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer