According to a story from Oncology Times, a recent study indicates that the PARP inhibitor drug talazoparib could be an effective treatment option for patients with advanced, HER-2 negative, BRCA mutated breast cancer. As there is no standard of care for breast cancer with these characteristics at this juncture, the results could indicate a basis for a care standard to be developed for BRCA mutated breast cancer.
About BRCA Mutated Breast Cancer
Breast cancer includes any cancer that originates in breast tissue. For breast cancer of all types, there are a variety of risk factors that can affect a person’s likelihood of getting the disease, but for BRCA mutated breast cancer, genetic mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes play a major role. Although only about five percent of cases are linked to these mutations, they increase the risk of both breast cancer and ovarian cancer dramatically. Symptoms include dimpled skin, a change in breast shape, a lump on the breast, a recently inverted nipple, red or scaly patch of skin, jaundice, bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, and shortness of breath. Treatment for breast cancer can vary depending on the characteristics of the tumor and whether it has spread. For BRCA mutated breast cancer, targeted therapies are still in the experimental stage. To learn more about BRCA mutated breast cancer, click here.
A Difficult Cancer to Treat
For breast cancer that is HER-2 negative and BRCA mutated, there are currently very limited treatment options. HER-2 is another potential therapeutic target for breast cancer, but a tumor that is negative for HER-2 will not respond to the monoclonal antibodies that can treat HER-2 positive cancer.
PARP inhibitors are a common approach for treating BRCA mutated ovarian cancer, and work as a targeted therapy that specifically exploits characteristics of these tumors that appear in cases where BRCA mutations play a role.
About the Study
In the study, The PARP inhibitor talazoparib was able to offer superior outcomes compared to conventional single agent chemotherapy. Median progression free survival for patients taking talazoparib was 8.6 months compared to 5.6 months for patients using chemo. In addition patients using the drug were 46 percent less likely to encounter progression of their cancer.
Clearly, PARP inhibitors appear to have a place in treating BRCA mutated breast cancer.