March 2, 2021
Benefits appear to outweigh risks
- Most patients with late-stage ovarian cancer relapse after receiving surgery plus chemotherapy
- The SOLO-1 study showed a progression-free survival benefit to maintenance therapy with the PARP inhibitor olaparib (brand name: LYNPARZA)
- Side effects include nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and anemia
The typical treatment for patients with advanced ovarian cancer is surgery plus platinum-based chemotherapy. Although most patients go into remission following this regimen, an estimated 70% relapse within the next three years.
Gynecologic oncologists like Allegheny Health Network’s Dr. John Nakayama, who formerly practiced at University Hospitals in Cleveland, wonder what can be done to improve these odds. “What can I do to change this?” he asks. Even if a cure isn’t possible, there is a benefit to longer progression-free survival, he tells SurvivorNet Connect. One way to prolong survival may be with maintenance therapy using a PARP inhibitor such as olaparib (brand name: LYNPARZA).
Evidence of olaparib’s benefit comes from the SOLO-1 study, a randomized, double-blinded, phase 3 trial comparing the PARP inhibitor to placebo in 391 patients, the majority of whom had BRCA mutations. In five-year follow-up data, olaparib improved progression-free survival to 56 months, compared to just under 14 months for placebo. The most common olaparib side effects were nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and anemia.
For his patients who ask about olaparib because they have BRCA mutations and have grown weary of chemotherapy, Dr. Nakayama says the risk-benefit ratio makes sense. “Perhaps there may even be an overall survival benefit,” he adds. “We have to wait for that.”