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Hereditary Cancer and Genetic Testing

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.

Regardless of cancer type, people with a mutation may qualify for clinical trials looking for more effective treatments for cancer.


Breast 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. 


Ovarian, and primary peritoneal cancer

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 as in advanced ovarian, and primary peritoneal cancer. Lynparza (olaparib),  () and ().  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. 

  • 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.


Pancreatic cancer

  • 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.


cancer

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.
Last updated September 14, 2022

Get Support
Get Support

FORCE offers many peer support programs for people with inherited mutations. 

updated: 08/06/2022

Paying For Care
Paying For Care

Paying for cancer treatment

The majority of public and private health insurance plans are required to cover cancer diagnosis and treatment; copays, coinsurance and deductibles often apply. Patient costs and coverage for specific doctors, facilities or treatments may vary based on your health plan. Visit our section on Insurance and Paying for Care: Treatment  for more information, links to sample appeal letters and other resources. 

If you need information about finding an insurance plan, watch our video: Choosing Wisely: How to Pick Insurance Plans.

Some pharmaceutical companies have assistance programs that help cover the cost for their medications: 

Organizations that offer co-pay assistance:

Other resources:

  • The American Cancer Society provides information and resources on covering the cost of cancer care. Public assistance, such as Medicaid may be available if you are ineligible for other programs. 
  • Needy Meds: Assistance programs to help patients with cost of medications and other healthcare.
  • Triage Cancer offers tools and resources to help individuals cope with the financial aspects of a cancer diagnosis.

updated: 11/20/2022

Open Clinical Trials
Open Clinical Trials

The following are cancer treatment studies enrolling people with a or mutation:

Advanced cancers of different types

breast cancer

A number of other clinical trials for patients with breast cancer can be found here.

breast cancer   

A number of other clinical trials for patients with breast cancer can be found here.

Ovarian cancer  

A number of other clinical trials for people with ovarian cancer can be found here.

Pancreatic cancer:

A number of other clinical trials for people with pancreatic cancer can be found here.

prostate cancer 

prostate cancer

A number of other clinical trials enrolling people with cancer can be found by searching here.

updated: 10/05/2022