Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New Drug Reduces Tumor Size In Women With Advanced Hereditary Ovarian Or Breast Cancer

Cedars-Sinai participates in international study suggesting that the underlying genetic weakness of cancer, not the organ of origin, is key to effective therapy

Understanding the underlying genetic weakness of certain types of cancer may lead to targeted therapy and provide the key to effective treatment, a new study suggests. An international consortium of researchers has shown that an investigational drug, Olaparib, can reduce the size of tumors in women with advanced hereditary ovarian cancer with BRCA gene mutations.

The Phase II ovarian cancer study results – as well as another Phase II trial in which Cedars-Sinai researchers also participated that evaluated the drug’s effectiveness in the treatment of hereditary breast cancer – were published in a recent issue of Lancet. The two trials showed similar levels of response to the genetically-targeted drug in both breast and ovarian cancers with BRCA mutations.

“These are significant new studies. Olaparib is the first single-agent, non-chemotherapy treatment to show benefit to patients with cancers that result from BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations,” said William Audeh, M.D., an oncologist specializing in cancer genetics at Cedars-Sinai’s Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and first author on the ovarian cancer study “Until now, treatments for cancer have been selected based upon where in the body the cancer originated. These two studies suggest that it is the underlying genetic weakness of a cancer, not the organ of origin, that is the key to selecting effective therapy.”

The first author of the breast cancer study and the principal investigator for both studies was Andrew Tutt, M.D., Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit, King’s College London School of Medicine.

Olaparib, a Poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor made by AstraZeneca, represents a “targeted therapy” approach to cancer treatment – anticancer drugs that interfere with specific pathways involved in cancer growth or survival. The PARP enzyme plays a role in DNA repair, including the repair of DNA damage from chemotherapy. Drugs that inhibit this enzyme appear to contribute to cancer cell death as well as increase their sensitivity to chemotherapy.

Of the 57 patients enrolled in the ovarian cancer study worldwide, 33 percent of participants showed a significant shrinkage in the size of their tumors, and in some cases, complete disappearance of their tumors. Toxicities from the drug were relatively mild, including nausea, fatigue and anemia.

“Women with advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer have often been through several chemotherapy regimens, making it difficult to offer effective treatments,” said Audeh. “PARP inhibitors may be a promising new option for this heavily ‘pre-treated’ population.“

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among American women, with an estimated 21,550 new cases and 14,600 deaths in 2009. Approximately 10 percent of these cases have an inherited mutation in the BRCA 1 or 2 genes, the type of cases treated in this trial. Since it is often difficult to diagnose, many women present with advanced disease, which is especially challenging to treat.

”These PARP inhibitor studies represent a major change in the approach to treating cancer that will be reflected in future clinical trials,” said Audeh. “While we studied Olaparib’s clinical benefit in patients known to have specific genetic weaknesses in their cancer cells, it is hoped that this drug – and others like it – will be an effective tool to treat the underlying genetic defects found in all types of cancers.”

The study was supported by AstraZeneca. Dr. Audeh has received honoraria as a consultant to AstraZeneca and Myriad Genetics Laboratories as well as financial support for travel to investigator meetings. Many of the other investigators had similar relationships with AstraZeneca.

The Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center focuses on combining compassionate, high-quality, patient-centered care with pioneering cancer research. For more information, call 1-800-CEDARS-1 or visit

Simi Singer | Cedars-Sinai News
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>