Read about different genes that are linked to hereditary cancer, their associated risks and guidelines for screening, preventing and treating cancers in people with inherited mutations in these genes.
Cancer treatment for people with inherited mutations
People with an inherited mutation who have been diagnosed with cancer may have different treatment options than people without a mutation. You may also consider enrolling in a clinical trial studying which treatments work best for people with an inherited mutation. To learn more about standard of care treatment options for specific types of cancer, visit our section on Cancer Treatment by Cancer Type.
If you have an inherited mutation, have been diagnosed with cancer and any of the situations below apply to you, you may want to speak to your doctor about your medical options.
- You have prostate cancer
- You have advanced ovarian cancer
- You are making breast cancer surgical decisions
- You have cancer and need radiation therapy
Regardless of diagnosis and situation, people with an mutation may qualify for clinical trials looking for more effective treatments for cancer.
PARP inhibitors are a type of that work by blocking a protein used to repair damaged . They were initially developed to treat cancers in people with an inherited or mutation. Since then, research and additional approvals have expanded use of PARP inhibitors to more situations. People with an mutation who have been diagnosed with cancer may want to ask their doctor about whether they might benefit from therapy or a research study.
The , Lynparza (olaparib) has received FDA-approval to treat men with , , who have a mutation in or another gene linked to a certain type of damage repair. Lynparza has been approved to treat men whose cancer has progressed on enzalutamide (Xtandi) or abiraterone (Zytiga).
Several PARP inhibitors have been approved to treat ovarian cancers at different stages of the disease. In some situations, a tumor known as an test ("hemologous recombination deficiency") can help women with advanced ovarian cancer learn if they may benefit from a .
- Advanced cancer which has recurred after third-line treatment:
- testing can help women with advanced ovarian cancer which has recurred after three lines of treatment learn if they may benefit from the Zejula ().
- after first-line treatment
- testing can help women with advanced ovarian cancer learn if they may benefit from the Lynparza (olaparib) in combination with Avastin (bevacizumab) as after first-line platinum chemotherapy.
- is approved for in women with advanced ovarian, , or primary peritoneal cancer who had a complete or partial response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. for does not require an test.
- after treatment of recurrent cancer
- , () and Lynparza are all approved for maintenance therapy in women with recurrent epithelial ovarian, , or primary peritoneal cancer who are in a complete or partial response to platinum based chemotherapy. In this setting, none of these drugs requires an test.
Because of the high risk for a second breast cancer diagnosis, women who are diagnosed with breast cancer who test positive for an inherited mutation in may choose mastectomy rather than and radiation. Mutation carriers who undergo mastectomy are less likely to develop a second breast cancer.
Based on research in people who have a mutation in both copies of their gene (see our Other Considerations section), there have been some questions raised about the safety of radiation therapy to treat cancer in people with a single mutation. According to experts, cancer patients with a single mutation can undergo radiation therapy to treat their cancer as recommended by their oncologist.
FORCE offers many peer support programs for people with inherited mutations.
- Our Message Boards allow people to connect with others who share their situation. Once you register, you can post on the Diagnosed With Cancer board to connect with other people who have been diagnosed.
- Our Peer Navigation Program will match you with a volunteer who shares your mutation and situation.
- Our moderated, private Facebook group allows you to connect with other community members 24/7.
- Check out our virtual and in-person support meeting calendar.
- Join one of our Zoom community group meeting:
- Meetings in American Sign Language
- Meetings in Spanish
- People of Color
- Young Previvors
- Young Survivors
- NCT04497116: Study of the RP-3500 Alone or in Combination with or Gemcitabine in Advanced with Damage Repair Mutations (TRESR Study).This study is looking at how well a drug called called RP-3500 works either alone or when combined with other cancer treatments in people with different types of advanced cancers with a mutation in , , , , , or other genes. This study is open to people whose cancer stopped responding or progressed on PARP inhibitors.
- NCT02264678: Ascending Doses of Ceralasertib in Combination With Chemotherapy and/or Novel Anti Cancer Agents. This is a study of oral ceralasertib in combination with chemotherapy and/or other anti-cancer agents for people with advanced cancer. The study is enrolling people with inherited mutations in , , , , and people with tumors that are HRD-positive.
- NCT04267939: ATR Inhibitor Plus Study in Advanced and Ovarian Cancer. This study will look at how well how well people with advanced respond to treatment with the BAY1895344 in combination with the . This study is open to people with inherited mutations in , , and others. Contact the study coordinator for information about eligilibity for people with mutations in other genes.
- NCT03344965: A Phase 2 Study of Olaparib Monotherapy in Breast Cancer Patients with Germline or in Repair Genes (Olaparib Expanded). Olaparib (Lynparza) is a type of treatment known as a PARP inhibitor, which is approved for breast cancer in people with a mutation. This study is looking at how well olaparib works in people with an or other mutation.
- NCT02401347: Beyond (TBB) Trial. People with an mutation who have triple-negative breast cancer may qualify for this study. () is a type of treatment known as a PARP inhibitor, which is approved for breast cancer in people with a mutation. This study is looking at how well works in people with an or other mutation.
- NCT04666740: Pembrolizumab and Olaparib for Pancreatic Cancer with or Exceptional Response to Platinum Chemotherapy. The goal of this study is to look at whether combining the drug, pembrolizumab and the , olaparib is a more effective treatment for this cancer than taking olaparib alone. This study is specifically enrolling people with inherited or acquired mutations.
- NCT04821622: TALAPRO-3: A Clinical Trial in Men with Castration-Sensitive Cancer (mCSPC) and Damage Repair (DDR) Gene Alterations. TALAPRO-3 is a trial for men who have been diagnosed with castration-sensitive cancer (mCSPC) which means that the tumor has spread to other parts of the body but is still sensitive to hormone therapies.
- NCT02975934: A Study of Verses Physician's Choice of Therapy in Patients With Castration-resistant Cancer and Gene Deficiency (TRITON3). TRITON3 study is looking at how well the rucaparib () works for men with a or mutation and advanced cancer.
- NCT03012321: Abiraterone/Prednisone, Olaparib, or Abiraterone/Prednisone + Olaparib in Patients With Castration-Resistant Cancer With Repair Defects. This is a phase II study in men with castration resistant cancer (mCRPC) open to men with an or other mutation.
- NCT04030559: Before Surgery in Treating Patients With High Risk Localized Cancer and Damage Response Defects. This trial studies how well , when given before surgery, works in treating patients with high risk cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body.
Visit our Research Search and Enroll Tool to find additional cancer treatment studies.