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Hereditary Cancer Info > Cancer Treatment > PARP Inhibitor Therapy

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PARP Inhibitor Therapy

There are many options for treating hereditary cancers. Choice of treatment can be personalized based on cancer type, stage and genetics.

PARP Inhibitors

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. 

PARP inhibitors for treating ovarian cancer

Three PARP inhibitors have been approved by the FDA for treating ovarian, primary peritoneal and fallopian tube cancer.  

  • Lynparza (also known as olaparib
  • Rubraca (also known as rucaparib)
  • Zejula (also known as niraparib)

You can read more about PARP inhibitors for the treatment of ovarian cancer here

PARP inhibitors for treating breast cancer

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.

PARP inhibitors for treating pancreatic cancer 

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 for treating prostate cancer

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.

Review the featured research section of our website and visit clinical trial search tool to find PARP inhibitor studies that are enrolling patients. 

Updated 12/31/2019

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