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A major breakthrough in the treatment of inherited breast cancer has been announced

The drug Olaparib, also known as Lynparza, was found to reduce the risk of death by up to 32% in BRCA mutations and high-risk HER2-negative early breast cancer.

BRCA 1 and 2 mutations are found in about 5% of breast cancers.

Olaparib was also found to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.

Olaparib was approved in the US last Friday for use in breast cancer patients who have already undergone chemotherapy before or after surgery. Experts hope the results will pave the way for a similar licensing approval by the European Medicines Agency, meaning it could eventually be made available on the NHS.

The drug can currently only be obtained privately in the UK. Making it available on the NHS for inherited breast cancer could benefit 1,500 - 2,000 women a year.

Olaparib is already licensed in Europe for BRCA-mutant advanced prostate cancer, advanced breast cancer, various types of ovarian cancer and pancreatic cancer, but not for early stage breast cancer. It is only available on the NHS in England and Wales for advanced ovarian cancer.
Professor Kristian Helin, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, said: “This is a major step forward in treatment of early-stage inherited breast cancer. Olaparib has major benefits for this group of patients, increasing their chances of remaining cancer free and potentially being cured after initial treatment. We hope Olaparib will now be licensed in Europe and approved in the UK for NHS patients without delay".

Read the full article here.


A major breakthrough in the treatment of inherited breast cancer has been announced

This is a major step forward in treatment of early-stage inherited breast cancer. Olaparib has major benefits for this group of patients, increasing their chances of remaining cancer free and potentially being cured after initial treatment. 

Professor Kristian Helin, The Institute of Cancer Research
March 17, 2022

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