PARP Inhibitors Could Help More Breast Cancer Patients than Previously Thought, U.K. Study Suggests

PARP Inhibitors Could Help More Breast Cancer Patients than Previously Thought, U.K. Study Suggests
PARP inhibitors like Lynparza (olaparib) were designed to treat patients with inherited BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, but more women with breast cancer could benefit from these drugs, a study suggests. The study, "HRDetect is a predictor of BRCA1 and BRCA2 deficiency based on mutational signatures," appeared in Nature Medicine. It argues that women with BRCA mutations have a faulty DNA repair machinery that makes them more susceptible to PARP inhibitors. Other mutations affecting this machinery could also make patients good candidates to be treated by those drugs. But clinical trials are needed to confirm this hypothesis. "In the past, clinical trials for PARP inhibitors have focused mainly on the 1 to 5 percent of women with breast cancer," Dr. Serena Nik-Zainal, lead author of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said in a press release. "However, our study shows that there are many more people who have cancers that look like they have the same signatures and same weakness as patients with faulty BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes." She added: "We should explore if they could also benefit from PARP inhibitors. The results suggest that clinical trials now need to look at cancer patients who share the same genetic signature in their cancer. This could change how clinical trials are designed in the future." Nik-Zainal and her team at the British research institute analyzed the genome of 560 patients with breast cancer, looking for every type of mutation possible — including insertions or deletions of sma
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