AstraZeneca today announced that the European Commission (EC) has granted Marketing Authorization for Lynparza™ (olaparib) capsules (400mg twice daily) as the first therapy for the maintenance treatment of adult patients with platinum-sensitive relapsed BRCA-mutated (germline and/or somatic) high grade serous epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer who are in complete response or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy.
Olaparib is a poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor that exploits tumor DNA repair pathway deficiencies to preferentially kill cancer cells. It is the first PARP inhibitor to be approved for patients with platinum-sensitive relapsed BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer. Patients will be identified through a validated diagnostic test.
“We are delighted to be able to bring this much needed treatment to patients with BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer whose options are currently very limited. Today’s approval marks a significant milestone in the development of the next generation of targeted medicines,” said Briggs Morrison, Executive Vice President, Global Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer at AstraZeneca. “We are committed to bringing new treatments to the patients who need them most and today’s news marks only the first of what we hope will be a number of indications in which Lynparza has the potential to transform the lives of cancer patients, including those with breast, pancreatic and gastric cancers.”
The EC decision is applicable to all 28 EU member states as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The approval of olaparib was based on data from Study 191, a Phase II clinical trial that evaluated its efficacy and safety compared to placebo in platinum-sensitive relapsed high grade serous ovarian cancer patients. The study showed that olaparib maintenance therapy significantly prolonged progression free survival (PFS) compared with placebo in patients with BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer: median PFS 11.2 months vs 4.3 months (PFS Hazard Ratio = 0.18; 95% Confidence Interval 0.10-0.31; p<0.0001). The most common adverse events associated with olaparib monotherapy to date were generally mild to moderate and included nausea, vomiting, fatigue and anemia.
Professor Steve Jackson, scientist at the University of Cambridge, whose research established the basis for olaparib and its clinical potential said: “It is wonderful to learn that olaparib is set to become a licensed drug and will therefore soon become available to advanced ovarian cancer sufferers. I also look forward to learning the results of ongoing trials exploring olaparib’s potential for the treatment of other cancers. Today’s announcement highlights how, by collaborating with a partner such as AstraZeneca, basic academic research, such as that carried out by the research team at the University of Cambridge, can lead to major medical developments.”
“It is fantastic news that Lynparza will now be available for women with advanced relapsed BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer,” said Dr John Green, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool and Chair, European Network of Gynecological Cancer Advocacy Groups (ENGAGe). “This is a devastating disease which has a profound impact on patients and their families. Women with a BRCA mutation are especially at risk and there has been a significant need for new treatment options with novel modes of action. The development of a targeted treatment like Lynparza is an excellent example of pioneering research being translated into a treatment that has the potential to transform the lives of patients.”