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PARP inhibitors in older patients with ovarian and breast cancer: Young International Society of Geriatric Oncology review paper

Published:October 14, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jgo.2018.10.008

      Abstract

      Breast and ovarian cancer are common malignancies among older adults, causing significant morbidity and mortality. Although most cases of breast and ovarian cancer are sporadic, a significant proportion is caused by mutations in cancer susceptibility genes, most often breast cancer susceptibility genes (BRCA) 1 and 2. Furthermore, some breast and ovarian tumors are phenotypically similar to those with BRCA mutations, a phenomenon known as “BRCAness”. BRCA mutations and “BRCAness” lead to defects in DNA repair, which may be a target for therapeutic agents such as Poly ADP-Ribose Polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. PARP inhibitors are novel medications which lead to double-strand breaks resulting in cell death due to synthetic lethality, and which have been shown to be effective in patients with advanced breast and ovarian cancers with or without BRCA mutations. Three different PARP inhibitors (olaparib, niraparib, and rucaparib) have been approved for the treatment of ovarian cancer and one (olaparib) for breast cancer harboring BRCA mutations. Here, we review the currently available evidence regarding the use of PARP inhibitors for the treatment of patients with breast and ovarian cancer, with a particular focus on the inclusion of older adults in clinical trials of these therapies. Additionally, we provide an overview of currently ongoing studies of PARP inhibitors in breast and ovarian cancer, and include recommendations for increasing the evidence-base for using these medications among older patients.

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