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 who do not have an inherited mutation. For example, PARP inhibitors are a type of used to treat cancers in people with certain mutations, including . 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, you may want to speak to your doctor about your medical options. You may also consider enrolling in a clinical trial studying which treatments work best for people with an inherited mutation.
- You have breast cancer
- You have advanced ovarian, or primary peritoneal cancer
- You have pancreatic cancer
- You have cancer
Regardless of cancer type, people with a mutation may qualify for clinical trials looking for more effective treatments for cancer.
- Surgical decisions: Because of the very high risk for a second (or third) breast cancer diagnosis, women who are diagnosed with breast cancer who test positive for an inherited mutation in often choose mastectomy rather than and radiation. Mutation carriers who undergo mastectomy are less likely to develop a second breast cancer.
- Treatment for breast cancer: The PARP inhibitors, Lynparza (also known as olaparib) and (also known as ) both have received approval for treating breast cancer caused by a mutation.
- Treatment for breast cancer: Based on results from a large clinical trial, experts recommend one year of the olaparib for people with , breast cancer who have an inherited mutation and who are at high risk for recurrence.
- Other considerations: Women with an inherited mutation are more likely to be diagnosed with a type of breast cancer known as . Women with an inherited mutation and early breast cancer appear to have similar prognosis and outcomes as women with a similar diagnosis who do not have a mutation.
Research has shown that women an inherited mutation and ovarian cancer appear to have better prognosis and outcomes than women with a similar diagnosis who do not have a mutation.
There are three PARP inhibitors with approval for treating advanced ovarian, and primary peritoneal cancer. Lynparza (olaparib), () and ().
- Advanced recurrent ovarian cancer: All three PARP inhibitors have approval for treating advanced recurrent ovarian, and primary peritoneal cancer in women with a mutation, although the approvals differ slightly.
- is approved for women who have received two or more prior lines of treatment, and have an inherited mutation or an acquired mutation found by testing their tumor.
- Lynparza is approved for women who have received three or more prior lines of treatment, and have an inherited mutation or an acquired mutation found by testing their tumor.
- is approved for women who have received three or more prior lines of treatment, and have an inherited mutation or a type of found by a test known as .
- Maintenance therapy: is a type of treatment that is given after chemotherapy treatment has been completed to try to keep the cancer from returning. The goal of is to extend the length of time before a new recurrence emerges or even to turn a temporary remission into a long-term cure. All three PARP inhibitors have all been approved by the for treating ovarian, primary peritoneal and cancer in the maintenance setting.
- Lynparza has been approved for front-line in women with advanced ovarian cancer caused by mutation. This means that women with a mutation who have completed their first course of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer may use Lynparza as to delay recurrence.
- Lynparza in combination with bevacizumab has been approved as after front-line platinum chemotherapy in women with a mutation.
- Lynparza, , and have all received approval as maintenance therapy for women with recurrent ovarian cancer, who had either a complete or partial response to the most recent line of recurrence therapy. These PARP inhibitors have been approved for in women with, and women without a mutation. However, research suggests that the agents work particularly well in women with a mutation.
- Treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer: People with pancreatic cancer and an inherited mutation may respond better to treatment that includes a type of chemotherapy known as platinum. Oxaliplatin is a platinum-containing drug used in some pancreatic cancer regimens.
- Maintenance therapy: Lynparza is a which is approved for maintenance treatment of pancreatic cancer in people with an inherited mutation whose disease has not progressed after completing first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.
cancers tend to be slow-growing in most men, but cancers in men with a mutation may be more aggressive than in men without a mutation. Two PARP inhibitors have received approval for treating advanced cancer in men with mutations.
- Lynparza may be used to treat men with , castration-resistent cancer, who have a mutation in or another gene linked to damage repair. Lynparza may be used to treat men whose cancer has progressed on enzalutamide (Xtandi) or abiraterone (Zytiga).
- may be used to treat men with a mutation who have castration-resistant cancer and who have been treated with androgen receptor-directed therapy and a taxane-based chemotherapy.
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
The following are cancer treatment studies enrolling people with a or mutation:
Advanced cancers of different types
- NCT03162627: Evaluation of the Combination of Selumetinib and Olaparib in Endometrial, Ovarian and Other With Ras Pathway Alterations, and Ovarian Tumors With PARP Resistance. The goal of this study is to find a tolerable dose combination of selumetinib and olaparib that can be given to people with advanced or recurrent . This study is open to people with ovarian cancer whose cancer stopped responding or progressed on PARP inhibitors.
- NCT04644068: Study of AZD5305 as Monotherapy and in Combination With Anti-cancer Agents in Patients With Advanced Solid Malignancies (PETRA). This research is designed to learn if treatment with a new , AZD5305, alone, or in combination with anti-cancer agents is safe, tolerable, and has anti-cancer activity in patients with advanced . The study is open to people who have previously been treated with PARP inhibitors.
- NCT02264678: Ascending Doses of Ceralasertib in Combination With Chemotherapy and/or Novel Anti Cancer Agents. This is a study of ceralasertib administered orally in combination with chemotherapy regimens and/or novel anti-cancer agents, to patients with advanced cancer. The study is enrolling people with inherited mutations including , , , , 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 tareted therapy BAY1895344 in combination with the niraparib. 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. This study is open to people whose cancer stopped responding or progressed on PARP inhibitors.
- NCT04657068: Treatment with ATR Inhibitor for Advanced or Solid Tumors. This study will look at how well a new oral known as an ATR inhibitor works on advanced or with mutations in genes linked to damage repair. This study is open to people who have an inherited or tumor or mutation or people with tumors that are HRD-positive. This study is open to people whose cancer stopped responding or progressed on PARP inhibitors.
- NCT03428802: Pembrolizumab in Treating Participants With , Recurrent or Locally Advanced Cancer and Genomic Instability. This phase II trial studies how well pembrolizumab works in treating participants with cancer that has spread to other places in the body, has come back or has spread to nearby tissues or . The study is specifically enrolling people with inherited or tumor mutations in or .
- NCT03344965: Olaparib Expanded - Treating Breast Cancer in People without gBRCA Mutations. This study is looking at whether olaparib is also effective for treating breast cancer in people who do not have an inherited mutation. The study is enrolling people with an inherited mutation in or an acquired (tumor) mutation in or .
- NCT03911973: Gedatolisib Plus in Advanced Triple Negative or BRCA1/2 Positive, Negative Breast Cancers. This study is designed to determine efficacy of gedatolisib in combination with in advanced negative breast cancer that is triple negative or BRCA1/2 positive (deficient).
- NCT04039230: Study to Evaluate Sacituzumab Govitecan in Combination With in Patients With Breast Cancer. This studies the effect of Antibody-Drug Conjugate Sacituzumab Govitecan in Combination with the PARP Inhibitor in Patients with TNBC.
- NCT03685331: HOPE: Olaparib, Palbociclib and Fulvestrant in Patients With Mutation-associated, HR+, HER2-metastatic Breast Cancer. The goal of this study is to find the best dose and measure side effects of palbociclib when given together with olaparib and fulvestrant, in treating people with hormone receptor-positive (HR+), , breast cancer who have a or mutation.
A number of other clinical trials for patients with breast cancer can be found here.
- NCT04915755: Using ctDNA Blood Test to Screen for Cancer in People Who Completed Treatment for TNBC and/or an Inherited or Tumor Mutation; Followed by Study Comparing with for People with Cancer Detected in their Blood (ZEST).This study will enroll people with triple negative breast cancer or people with an inherited or acquired or mutation who have completed treatment (or are still in treatment with hormone therapy) for screening using circulating tumor (ctDNA). People who test positive for ctDNA may be eligible for a study to receive the , or a and undergo close monitoring with imaging (CT scans).
NCT04584255: Treating HER2-Negative, , or PALB2-Associated Breast Cancer with a () and (Dostarlimab). This study will look at how well the drugs (a ) and Dostarlimab (an ) treat breast cancer in people with an inherited , or mutation.
A number of other clinical trials for patients with breast cancer can be found here.
- NCT03462342 Combination ATR inhibitor and in Recurrent Ovarian Cancer (CAPRI). This study will look at how well patients with recurrent ovarian cancer respond to treatment with a type of known as an ATR inhibitor when combined with a .
- NCT04586335: Study of CYH33 in Combination With Olaparib an Oral in Patients With Advanced . The purpose of this study is to assess the safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy of the CYH33 in combination with olaprib in patients with DDR gene mutations and/or PIK3CA mutations, in patients who have progressed on prior , and in patients with recurrent high grade serous ovarian, , or primary peritoneal cancer who are platinum resistant or refractory.
- NCT03579316: Adavosertib With or Without Olaparib in Treating Patients With Recurrent Ovarian, Primary Peritoneal, or Cancer. This studies how well adavosertib with or without olaparib work in patients with ovarian cancer that has come back (recurrent). The study is open to people who have previously been treated with PARP inhibitors.
- NCT04267939: ATR Inhibitor Plus Study in Advanced and Ovarian Cancer. This study will look at how well how well people with advanced ovarian cancer or other respond to treatment with the BAY1895344 in combination with the . This study is open to people whose ovarian cancer progressed on a .
- NCT04525183: REVITALIZE: A Telehealth Intervention for Women With Advanced Ovarian Cancer and PARP Inhibitor-Related Fatigue. This study is testing whether a 6 week skills-based telehealth intervention can help ovarian cancer patients experiencing PARP inhibitor-related fatigue reduce the impact of fatigue on their daily life and activities.
- NCT04374630: Study With Afuresertib and Paclitaxel in Platinum Resistant Ovarian (PROFECTA-II). Afuresertib is an AKT inhibitor, a new class of agents under development that may provide treat platinum resistant ovarian cancer (PROC) progression. Afuresertib plus chemotherapy has demonstrated anti-tumor efficacy and an acceptable safety profile in patients with PROC in a published Phase I/II study.
A number of other clinical trials for people with ovarian cancer can be found here.
- NCT04150042: A Study of Melphalan, BCNU, Vitamin B12b, Vitamin C and Stem Cell Infusion in People with Advanced Pancreatic Cancer and Mutations. This study will look at whether combining melphalan, BCNU, vitamin B12b and vitamin C, followed by autologous (self) bone marrow stem cell infusion, is safe and effective for treating people with advanced pancreatic cancer who have a or gene mutation.
- NCT04229004: Precision Promise Platform Trial for Pancreatic Cancer. This study tests different treatments for pancreatic cancer.
- NCT04493060: Treating Pancreatic Cancer with an Inherited or Tumor BRCA1/2 or Mutation with and Dostarlimab. This study looks at how well the and the drug dostarlimab work together in treating patients with pancreatic cancer, who have an inherited or tumor mutation in one of these genes: , , , , , or .
- NCT04666740: Pembrolizumab and Olaparib for Pancreatic Cancer with or Exceptional Response to Platinum Chemotherapy. This is a study for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with a tumor test result called HRD-positive, or whose disease has responded well to first-line or second-line platinum therapy. The study will look at whether combining the drug pembrolizumab and the olaparib is a more effective treatment for this cancer than taking olaparib alone.
- NCT04858334: Olaparib or in Patients with Surgically Removed Pancreatic Cancer who have a , or Mutation (APOLLO). The purpose of APOLLO is to compare the usual approach (observation) to treatment for one year with a drug called olaparib, in patients with a , or mutation.
NCT04548752: Adding Pembrolizumab to Olaparib to Treat Pancreatic Cancer in People with an Inherited Mutation. This study is researching whether adding the drug Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) to the Olaparib (Lynparza) works better than olaparib alone in treating people with pancreatic cancer who also have an inherited or mutation.
A number of other clinical trials for people with pancreatic cancer can be found here.
- 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.
- NCT05005728: XmAb®20717 Alone or in Combination With Chemotherapy or in Patients With Castration-Resistant Cancer. This study will look at the safety and clinical activity of the drug XmAb20717 alone or in combination with standard of care anticancer therapies in patients with castration-resistant cancer who have been treated with at least 2 prior lines of treatment.
- 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 a or other mutation.
- NCT04455750: A Clinical Study Evaluating The Benefit of Adding to Enzalutamide for Men With Prostate Cancer That Has Become Resistant To Testosterone-Deprivation Therapy. This trial is evaluating the benefit of and enzalutamide combination therapy versus enzalutamide alone for the treatment of men with prostate cancer that has become resistant to testosterone-deprivation therapy.
- NCT04030559: Before Surgery in Treating Patients With High Risk Localized Cancer and Damage Response Defects. This study will look at how well the niraparib works, when given before a radical prostatectomy, for people with high-risk cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body, and who have a tumor mutation in any of the following genes:BRCA1/2, , CDK12, CHEK1/2 FANCA, FANCD2, FANCL, GEN1, , , RAD51, , and .
- NCT04194554: Androgen Suppression With Abiraterone, Leuprolide, and Stereotactic Radiotherapy in Cancer (ASCLEPIuS). This study will look at treating men with high risk cancer using the niraparib combined with stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), abiraterone, leuprolide, and prednisone.
A number of other clinical trials enrolling people with cancer can be found by searching here.