Lynparza a New Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Lynparza (olaparib) is a recently FDA approved targeted cancer treatment for certain types of advanced ovarian cancer associated with defective BRCA genes. Advanced cancer by definition means that the cancer is still active within the body and that it can not be removed through surgery.
In addition, patients must have received at least three different chemotherapy treatment regimens, AND, must also carry a mutation in the BRACA 1 or BRACA2 genes.
The BRACA test is a blood test. It can be done in the doctor’s office, and is called BRACAnalysis CDx™ . (from Myriad Genetic Laboratories)
Lynparza is a pill taken by mouth twice a day for as long as it is working. In studies, Lynparza improved advanced ovarian cancer 34% of the time. The responses lasted for approximately 8 months, and the overall survival in one study was more than 16 months.
In this new cancer education video, oncologist Dr. Stephen Lemon of Oncology Associates talks about how Lynparza works, which types of ovarian cancer patients it benefits and what types of sides effects patients may experience from this cancer treatment. As a PARP inhibitor, Lynparza is the first drug of its kind to be approved in the US.
PARP inhibitors are class of medication that offers promise for treating BRCA related cancers. These drugs block an enzyme used by cells to repair damage to their DNA. For women who do not carry the BRCA mutation, PARP inhibitors may work by keeping cancer cells from repairing themselves once they’ve been damaged by chemotherapy treatment, while sparing healthy cells. These PARP inhibitors may be very effective for patients with BRCA mutations, as their tumor cells will already have problems repairing DNA and the PARP inhibitors will make this even worse. Visit our genetic cancer testing page to learn more about genetic testing.
Possible Lynparza Side Effects
Common side effects with Lynparza are:
Nausea, vomiting, fatigue and anaemia.
Additional side effects are:
Diarrhea, heartburn, abdominal pain, headache, decreased appetite, change in taste, and inflammation of the nose and throat.
Possible rare but serious side effects with Lynparza are:
Damage to the bone marrow, acute leukemia, and inflammation of the lungs.
Lynparza should not be used if a patient has serious liver or kidney problems
Talk to your doctor to find out if Lynparza, or olaparib, is right for your ovarian cancer treatment.
Lynparza is marketed by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Stephen Lemon is a medical oncologist in private practice ans is not associated with AstraZeneca.