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PARP inhibitors are a relatively new type of cancer treatment initially designed specifically for people with inherited mutations. These drugs block an enzyme—known as PARP—used by cells to repair damage to their DNA. Researchers believe that PARP inhibitors may be particularly effective against cancers in people with certain inherited mutations, including BRCA and other mutations such as PALB2 and ATM. Tumor cells with these mutations have problems repairing DNA already, and the PARP inhibitors make that worse. Theoretically, these drugs should spare healthy cells that have at least one working copy of the gene, with limited side effects or toxicity.
In addition to treating people with inherited mutations, PARP inhibitors may also treat cancers in people who do not have an inherited mutation.
Three PARP inhibitors have been approved by the FDA for treating ovarian, primary peritoneal and fallopian tube cancer.
You can read more about PARP inhibitors for the treatment of ovarian cancer here.
Lynparza and Talzenna have received FDA approval for treating metastatic breast cancer caused by a BRCA mutation. Based on clinical trial results, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) added Lynparza as a preferred treatment for people with advanced breast cancer and a BRCA mutation. Additional clinical trials studying PARP inhibitors for treating other types of breast cancer are ongoing.
You can read more about PARP inhibitors for the treatment of breast cancer here.
Lynparza is FDA approved for maintenance treatment of pancreatic cancer in people with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation whose disease has not progressed after completing first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.
You can read more about PARP inhibitors for the treatment of pancreatic cancer here.
PARP inhibitors have not yet received FDA approval for treating prostate cancer, but clinical trials are ongoing looking at PARP inhibitors for treating prostate cancer in men with inherited BRCA or other mutations and men with certain mutations within their tumors.
You can read more about PARP inhibitors for the treatment of prostate cancer here.