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Longer-term treatment with olaparib can maintain quality of life and stop cancer progressing

AstraZeneca has today reported that the drug olaparib (Lynparza), which Worldwide Cancer Research played a key role in developing, can be used as part of a maintenance programme to ensure women maintain their quality of life, with few side effects, throughout their treatment. These findings were presented today at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago, US taking place from 2-6 June 2017.

The SOLO-2 phase III clinical trial was open to women with BRCA-mutated, platinum-sensitive serous ovarian cancer which had relapsed. The women received 300mg, which equates to 4 tablets, of olaparib, twice a day as part of a maintenance programme. This new tablet form of the drug is significantly less than the 16 capsules a day which is currently prescribed.

The olaparib maintenance programme significantly prolonged the amount of time the women had before the disease progressed, eliminated symptoms of the disease and had low levels of toxicity for up to 27 months after they began taking the drugs. On three separate rating scales (functional, physical well-being and symptoms), women reported a similar quality of life to those taking the placebo which means that the drug had very few side effects. This means that women are more likely continue with their treatment, unlike with traditional chemotherapy drugs where prolonging life often comes at the price of a reduced quality of life, meaning women tend not to continue with the treatment.

Dr Lara Bennett from Worldwide Cancer Research said: "This is extremely exciting, and fantastic news for these women, as it means the drug not only prolongs their life but ensures that it is a good quality of life. It also consolidates our belief that funding discovery stage research, at the start of the drug development journey is vital. Without our research grants to Professor Steve Jackson almost 20 years ago to study DNA repair, this drug might never have been developed. It was Professor Jackson who believed that targeting a DNA repair weakness in cancer cells had the potential to lead to a new generation of cancer drugs and now we can see that he was right."

Read more about our role in helping kick start the development of olaparib here.

About SOLO-2

SOLO-2 was a Phase III, randomised, double-blind, multicentre trial designed to investigate the efficacy of olaparib tablets as a maintenance monotherapy compared with placebo, in patients with platinum-sensitive relapsed gBRCA-mutated ovarian cancer. The trial, conducted in collaboration with the European Network for Gynaecological Oncological Trial Groups (ENGOT) and Groupe d’Investigateurs National pour l’Etude des Cancers de l’Ovaire et du sein (GINECO), randomised 295 patients with documented germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations who had received at least two prior lines of platinum-based chemotherapy and were in complete or partial response to their most recent regimen. Eligible patients were randomised to receive either olaparib tablets (300mg twice daily) or placebo.

Ovarian Cancer

Worldwide, ovarian cancer is the 7th most-commonly diagnosed cancer and the 8th most common cause of cancer death in women. The risk of developing ovarian cancer is increased in women with specific inherited genetic abnormalities, including BRCA mutations.

About olaparib (Lynparza)

Olaparib (Lynparza) is an innovative, first-in-class oral poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor that may exploit tumour DNA damage response (DDR) pathway deficiencies to preferentially kill cancer cells. It is approved by regulatory authorities in the EU and US for the treatment of women with BRCA mutated ovarian cancer.



  1. Friedlander M., et al. Relationship of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and   patient-centered outcomes with the clinical outcomes with olaparib maintenance following chemotherapy in patients with germline (g) BRCA-mutated (m) platinum-sensitive relapsed serous ovarian cancer (PSR SOC): SOLO2 phase III trial. Presented at the American Society of Clinica Oncology (ASCO), June 2-6, 2017. Chicago, Illinois, US.