The current status of PARP inhibitors in ovarian cancer



Recent advances in our understanding of the molecular biology of epithelial ovarian cancer have led to the development of a number of targeted therapies, including poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. PARP inhibitors are a novel class of therapeutic agents that target tumors with deficiencies in the homologous recombination DNA repair pathway. Early studies have shown significant efficacy for PARP inhibitors in patients with germline BRCA1/2 mutations. It has become evident that BRCA wild-type patients with other defects in the homologous recombination repair pathway benefit from this therapeutic approach. Importantly, companion homologous recombination deficiency scores are being developed to help guide the selection of patients most likely to gain clinical benefit from PARP inhibition. Olaparib, the first and most extensively investigated PARP inhibitor, is now licensed in Europe for maintenance treatment of patients with platinum-sensitive relapsed BRCA-mutated (germline or somatic) high-grade serous ovarian cancer who have responded to platinum-based chemotherapy. In the United States, olaparib is licensed for treatment of patients with germline BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer who have received 3 or more lines of chemotherapy. There are a number of other PARP inhibitors in late phase clinical development in ovarian cancer including rucaparib, niraparib, veliparib, and talazoparib. This review will focus on the current evidence for PARP inhibitors in ovarian cancer and discuss ongoing clinical trials and future research directions in this rapidly evolving area.

Tumori 2016; 102(5): 433 - 440

Article Type: REVIEW



Jennifer McLachlan, Angela George, Susana Banerjee

Article History


Financial support: No financial support was received for this submission.
Conflict of interest: S.B. has participated in advisory boards for AstraZeneca and Clovis with no personal financial renumeration.

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  • Gynaecology Unit, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London - UK

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