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New drug reduces tumor size in women with advanced hereditary ovarian or breast cancer
Date:8/12/2010

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 11, 2010) 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 che
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Contact: Simi Singer
simi.singer@cshs.org
310-423-7798
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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