New Combination for HRD-Positive Ovarian Cancer Gets EU Approval

According to a story from Cancer Network, the European Commission has recently approved a two-part combination treatment for advanced, homologous recombination deficiency (HRD)-positive ovarian cancer. This first-line maintenance treatment consists of the drugs olaparib (marketed as Lynparza) and bevacizumab and is intended for patients who responded successfully to platinum-based chemo. The approval also includes patients with peritoneal cancer or advanced cancer affecting the fallopian tubes.

About Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer can appear on or within the ovary. This cancer rarely causes distinctive symptoms in its early stages, so many patients are often diagnosed with advanced disease. The risk of getting this cancer is connected to how long a woman has ovulated during her life; women who ovulate for longer periods are at greater risk. Late menopause or early puberty are risk factors, as are not having children, fertility medication, certain genetic variants and mutations (such as BRCA mutations), and exposure to talc, herbicides, and pesticides. Some symptoms include fatigue, bloating, a feeling of fullness, loss of appetite, indigestion, abdominal swelling, and pelvic pain. Treatment can include chemo, radiation, surgery, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy. There are many different kinds of ovarian cancer. Five year survival rate is 45 percent in the US. To learn more about ovarian cancer, click here.

Promising Results

Around half of patients with advanced ovarian cancer have tumors that test positive for HRD. With this new treatment becoming available, testing for HRD will be a critical part of treatment. The approval follows findings from a phase 3 trial in which the combination was able to bring down the risk of death or progression by 67 percent. The combination also produced a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 37.2 months, compared to 17.7 months when just bevacizumab was used. More than ten percent of patients experienced adverse events as a result of treatment. The findings were first published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

As ovarian cancer has a five year survival of less than 50 percent, the addition of combination treatments can go a long way in helping patients experience greater survival, quality of life, and overall outcomes.

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