Are PARP inhibitors a new standard of care option for MBC patients?

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Published: 18 Jun 2019
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Dr Jennifer Litton - The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA

Dr Jennifer Litton talks to ecancer at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting about using PARP inhibitors to treat metastatic breast cancer (MBC) and whether or not they can be considered a new standard of care option.

She explains that, although PARP inhibitors have been shown to be beneficial and could be considered a new standard of care, they are still not curing patients across the board.

This programme has been supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer.

We now have two randomised phase III trials showing level one evidence that PARP inhibitors for patients with metastatic breast cancer who have a germline BRCA mutation and HER2 negative breast cancer show benefit, improving median progression free survival as well as quality of life measures compared to standard chemotherapy.

So this is a standard of care option for patients now who fit those criteria but we’re still not curing patients with the PARP inhibitors across the board; we’re seeing resistance. We need to see if we can expand the patients who might benefit from PARP inhibitors, so patients who maybe don’t have a germline BRCA but maybe have other mutations, either in their germline or that we find in the tumour. And a lot of research is trying to understand that group of patients who don’t have responses to PARP inhibitors, despite having a germline BRCA mutation. All of those investigations are ongoing.